Obama: Russia’s Cooperation in Syria Would ‘Allow Us All to Refocus Our Attention on ISIL’

By Michael Morris | November 24, 2015 | 2:07 PM EST

President Obama holds a joint press conference with President Francois Hollande of France. (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) – While speaking at a joint press conference with French President François Hollande on Tuesday, President Barack Obama was critical of Russia saying their “cooperation would be enormously helpful in bringing about resolution to the civil war in Syria and allow us all to refocus our attention on ISIL.”

“We’ve got a coalition of 65 countries, who’ve been active in pushing back against ISIL for quite some time,” said President Barack Obama. “France has been a central part of that coalition, as have European countries, Arab countries. Countries as far-flung as Australia, and countries in South East Asia, are part of that coalition.

“Russia, right now, is a coalition of two: Iran and Russia, supporting Assad,” stated Obama.

“Given Russia’s military capabilities, and given the influence they have on the Assad regime, them cooperating would be enormously helpful in bringing about resolution to the civil war in Syria and allow us all to refocus our attention on ISIL,” he said.

“But I think it’s important to remember that you’ve got a global coalition organized. Russia’s the outlier,” Obama continued. “We hope that they refocus their attention on what is the most substantial threat and that they serve as a constructive partner. And if and when they do, it will make it easier for us to go after ISIL and DAESH.”

President Obama then asserted that airstrikes in and of themselves would not be “sufficient,” noting that Russia could supplement the global coalition’s efforts “and the work that we do to bolster local fighting forces – the cutting off of supply lines, financing, oil, reducing the flow of foreign fighters, the intelligence work that needs to be done – all that is something that we’re doing now.”

President Obama concluded in noting that this process is going to involve “hard, methodical work.”

“It’s not going to be something that happens just because suddenly we take a few more airstrikes,” Obama stated. “And that’s the kind of hard work that France is prepared to do, the United States is prepared to do, and perhaps, in the future, Russia will be as well.”

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