The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, is losing territory after the American-led military operations in Iraq and Syria. Kerry’s comments came after his talks with French President Francois Hollande about last week’s terror attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people.
“We agreed to exchange more information and I’m convinced that over the course of the next weeks, Daesh [ISIS] will feel greater pressure. They are feeling it today. They felt it yesterday. They felt it in the past weeks. We gained more territory. Daesh has less territory,” Kerry said, according to the Guardian.
“There is a clear strategy in place,” Kerry added, echoing the words of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to the G20 Monday. “Step-by-step I’m confident momentum will pick up.”
Earlier, France announced it had launched a fresh round of airstrikes on targets of ISIS in the Syrian city of Raqqa overnight Monday, destroying a command center and a training base used by the militant group.
“The French army, for the second time in a span of 24 hours, launched an air raid against Daesh [ISIS] in Raqqa,” the French defense ministry said, in a statement released Tuesday.
Hollande, who declared that his country was now “at war” with ISIS, has reportedly called on the U.S. and Russia to join a coalition to destroy the militant group, which claimed responsibility for the series of coordinated suicide bombings and shootings in Paris. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 27-year-old Belgian man suspected of being the mastermind behind Friday night’s attacks, is believed to be in hiding. Some reports claimed that he was a possible target of the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes in Syria.
"We must combine our forces to achieve a result that is already too late in coming," Hollande reportedly said.
On Tuesday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also urged other EU states to support its military operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
"France cannot act alone in these theatres," he said, at a meeting of EU defense ministers in Brussels, according to reports.