US President Barack Obama yesterday promised to uphold his commitment to protecting religious minorities in the Middle East.
Meeting with Christian leaders from the region, a delegation led by Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Rai, Obama and national security advisor Susan Rice discussed "the plight of Christians in the Middle East and the challenges they face across the region from the rise of extremism."
Christians and other religious minorities, most notably Yazidis and Shiite Muslims, have been living under brutal persecution as Islamic terrorist group IS continues to gain power throughout Iraq and Syria.
Thousands have been forced to flee their homes, while reports of routine beheadings and crucifixions have been emerging from those on the ground.
According to the Associated Press, Obama yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to working with the Lebanese Armed Forces and other partners on the ground to defend minority communities and "promote stability".
On Wednesday, the President gave a national address in which he promised aggressive offensive action against the Islamic State.
"Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy...I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are," he said.
"That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."