UPDATE: 12:37 p.m. EDT -- President Barack Obama said Turkey's decision to shoot down a Russian plane carrying out airstrikes in Syria Tuesday is the latest sign that Moscow should reconsider the scope of its bombing campaign.
"This points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to the Turkey border and that they are going after moderation opposition that is supported not only by Turkey but a wide range of countries," Obama said during a press conference with French President François Hollande Tuesday at the White House.
Both Hollande and Obama urged Turkey and Russia to avoid escalating the plane crisis. "Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and airspace," Obama said. "It's very important for us right now to make sure both the Russians and the Turks are talking to each other to find out exactly what happened and take measures to discourage any kind of an escalation."
Hollande said the plane conflict showed that the four-year civil war in Syria must be brought to an end. "We can see what the risks are otherwise, the risks of escalation," he said.
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m. EDT -- French President François Hollande said Syrians will not accept a cease-fire and a new government unless Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been accused of killing hundreds of thousands of Syrians, is removed from office. He said France will continue to work with other nations to improve intelligence sharing and broker a new political transition in Syria amid a growing threat from the Islamic State group.
"We have to defend ourselves and use intelligence," said Hollande during a press conference with U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday at the White House. It was the first time the world leaders had met since deadly terrorist attacks in Paris killed and wounded hundreds Nov. 13.
Hollande said the border between Syria and Turkey, a popular route for ISIS fighters, needs to be closed.
French President calls for Turkey-Syria border to close as "matter of urgency" to stop terrorists coming to Europe https://t.co/Gw95qaW7Hu
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— CNN (@CNN) November 24, 2015
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 24, 2015
UPDATE: 12:11 p.m. EDT -- President Barack Obama expressed Tuesday solidarity with France and vowed to keep the nation safe amid concerns that terror attacks that unfolded across Paris earlier this month could be replicated in the U.S.
"What happened in Paris is truly horrific. I understand that people are worried that something similar could happen here," he said during a press conference with French President François Hollande Tuesday at the White House. "Even as we are vigilant, we cannot and will not succumb to fear...We cannot give them the victory of changing how we go about our lives."
Obama also said he could work with Russia in Syria to combat the Islamic State group if Moscow shifted its focus to wiping out ISIS instead of helping the Syrian government stay in power.
U.S. President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande were scheduled to give a joint press conference Tuesday at the White House after meeting for the first time since deadly terrorist attacks in Paris killed and wounded hundreds Nov. 13. Hollande and Obama were scheduled to discuss the war against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, but the rundown changed after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane for allegedly violating Turkish airspace.
“I don't want to get ahead of the meeting, but I also wouldn't downplay the significance of additional expressions of solidarity and support," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. "We certainly believe that there is more that France and their European partners can do in terms of sharing information among themselves and with the United States."
Hollande has said he hopes that the Nov. 13 Paris attack would prompt the United States and Russia to "join forces" with other nations in the fight against ISIS. But after Turkey shot down the Russian plane for allegedly entering its airspace, NATO ordered an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the incident, raising questions about the future of French and Russian relations.
"The question at this point is whether [Russia] can make the strategic adjustment that allows them to be effective partners with us," Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia Sunday. "And we don't know that yet."
The White House will carry a live stream video of the press conference. It can be watched below:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Su-24 was struck down by air-to-air missiles fired by Turkish F-16s while it was flying over Syrian territory. Putin described the incident as a "stab in the back" committed by "accomplices of terrorists."