Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry warned against "war fever" on Thursday and said the new American campaign against the so-called "Islamic State" should be understood as a counter-terrorism mission.
Speaking the day after President Barack Obama announced a "relentless" campaign of air strikes against IS militants in Iraq and ultimately in Syria, Kerry declined to call the operation a war.
"What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation," Kerry told CNN in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during a tour of regional allies to drum up support for joint action.
"It`s going to go on for some period of time," he warned.
"If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it`s a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts."
Separately, CBS reporter Margaret Brennan tweeted that Kerry had told her: "I don`t think people need to get into war fever on this."
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that US warplanes would start using a base outside the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil, having previously been operating from airbases and carriers outside the country.