US, France to intensify ISIS air-strikes

By Dasha Afanasieva
Reuters

BELEK, Turkey – The United States will work with France to intensify air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, U.S. Deputy National security adviser Ben Rhodes said on Sunday, after attacks in Paris killed 129 people.

Rhodes said getting arms directly to fighters on the ground in Syria and Iraq seemed to be working in the fight against Islamic State.

“Clearly there’s going to have to be an intensification of our efforts,” Rhodes said in an interview with U.S. network NBC’s Meet the Press on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Turkey.

“What we’re doing here at the G20 in part is seeking to gain additional contributions from some of our coalition partners, so that we’re able to bring more force to bear on that effort.”

The Islamic State militant group took responsibility for a series of shootings and bombings in Paris on Friday that killed 129 people and injured hundreds, becoming the top of the agenda for the G20 summit in southwestern Turkey.

“What we’ve made clear to the French is we will be shoulder to shoulder with them in this response … They’re in our military campaign in Iraq and Syria already. Clearly they want to energize their efforts,” Rhodes said.

“We’re confident that in the coming days and weeks working with the French we will be able intensify our strikes against ISIL (Islamic State) in both Syria and Iraq to make clear that there is no safe haven for these terrorists.”

Islamic State has been the target of thousands of U.S.-led air strikes. France began its own air strikes in Syria in September.

Separately, Rhodes told reporters that Islamic State has the aspiration to launch attacks on any member of the U.S.-led coalition but said there was no specific credible threat against the United States.


Photo: Deputy U.S. National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes participates in the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, September 30. | REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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