US, France to “Scale Up Strikes” in Syria

During a joint press conference Tuesday with President Obama at the White House, French President François Hollande said the two leaders agreed to “scale up strikes” against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, to “broaden” the scope of those targets, and “strengthen intelligence sharing.” Obama said the “more than 8,000 airstrikes, combined with local partners on the ground, have pushed ISIL back from territory in Iraq and Syria,” but said more could be done. European nations must “ramp up intelligence efforts to stop the flow of fighters,” said Obama, who also called on the European Union to share airline passenger data so countries can assess incoming travelers. Hollande, who recently met with British Prime Minister David Cameron, is trying to bolster international support for the campaign to destroy ISIS, following the devastating Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people from nearly 20 countries, including the United States. Cameron is pressing Parliament to expand? the UK’s role in the ISIS fight and has offered French combat aircraft use of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Hollande will travel to Moscow next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both he and Obama agreed there are opportunities to partner with Russia, but said Russia must make a strategic shift and focus its airstrikes on ISIS extremists in Syria rather than the moderate opposition to Bashar al Assad’s regime. (Obama, Hollande transcript.)