Obama Says Russian Airstrikes Bolster Assad

President Barack Obama meets with President Francois Hollande of France in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Hollande's visit to Washington is part of a diplomatic offensive to get the international community to bolster the campaign against the Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Barack Obama meets with President Francois Hollande of France in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Hollande's visit to Washington is part of a diplomatic offensive to get the international community to bolster the campaign against the Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — The latest on President Barack Obama's meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the White House on the fight against the Islamic State group:

12:15

President Barack Obama says Russia's airstrikes against moderate opposition groups in Syria are bolstering the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

He's calling on Russia to play a more constructive role by shifting the focus of its airstrikes to defeating the Islamic State.

Obama spoke at a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande after the two met to discuss the global response to the Islamic State group

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is targeting the Islamic State militants. But the U.S. contends Moscow is going after rebels fighting Assad, a Kremlin ally whom the U.S. wants pushed out.

Obama added that the best way to bring peace to Syria is to support a cease fire and a political transition away from Assad.

___

12:10 a.m.

President Barack Obama says the Islamic State group cannot be tolerated and must be destroyed. He says the U.S. and France must destroy it together.

Obama is speaking after an Oval Office meeting with French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND'). Obama says he and Hollande agreed the nations in the U.S.-led coalition must do more together to fight the Islamic State.

Obama is calling it a "barbaric terrorist group." He says this is an important moment for the U.S. and France as well as the rest of the world.

Obama is declaring "total solidarity" with France and pledging to bring justice to the perpetrators and the people who sent them. Obama says the U.S. and France together will "defend out nations."

The president also says the attacks that killed 130 in Paris was an attack on the world itself.

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10:25 a.m.

President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande have started their Oval Office meeting on the global response to the Islamic State group.

Hollande arrived at the White House midmorning Tuesday. The two planned to take questions at a news conference following their meeting.

The sit-down comes less than two weeks after the Islamic State group launched a series of deadly attacks in Paris. The visit has been complicated by Turkey's shoot-down of a Russian warplane on Tuesday.

Hollande's trip to Washington is part of a diplomatic push to get the international community to bolster the campaign against the Islamic State. But he's likely to leave Washington without firm backing for his call to bring Russia into a new coalition to fight the extremists.

By The Associated Press - Nov. 24, 2015 12:17 PM EST

 
 

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