US response to Kurdish advances in Syria tempered by caution

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Tuesday touted Kurdish-led advances against Islamic State in Syria as a model for the U.S.-backed effort to retake territory from the jihadist group, but US officials cautioned that the insurgents remained resilient and could strike back.
By highlighting battlefield gains in northern Syria by a reliable partner on the ground, the White House sought to further justify President Barack Obama's policy of limiting US military involvement in the fight to reverse Islamic State's conquests there and in neighboring Iraq.
But it was also a stark reminder of Washington's stumbling bid to turn moderate Syrian Arab rebels into a viable fighting force as well as a pointed message to the Iraqi government, which is struggling to rebuild its fragile military.