During Monday’s briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was unable to say if the Islamic State’s treatment of Syrian Christians is genocide or not.
“Well, we have long expressed our concerns with the tendency of — well, not a tendency — a tactic employed by ISIL to slaughter religious minorities in Iraq and in Syria,” he stated. “You’ll recall at the very beginning of the military campaign against ISIL that some of the first actions that were ordered by President Obama, by the United States military, were to protect Yazidi religious minorities that were essentially cornered on Mt. Sinjar by ISIL fighters.”
Earnest explained that though the Obama administration has “long been concerned by the way that ISIL attempts to target religious minorities,” he isn’t sure that these horrific actions have yet reached the level of genocide.
“My understanding is, the use of that word involves a very specific legal determination that has at this point not been reached.”