In a move aimed at building a strong global coalition against the Islamic State group, United States Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday that the U.S. will increase intelligence-sharing with Russia “with respect to ISIL and other counterterrorism challenges of the region.” Kerry made the announcement after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Tuesday.
“We both recognize the need to destroy and ultimately defeat ISIL, to degrade their efforts and ultimately to defeat them, and also to counter the violent and oppressive approach of ISIL,” Kerry said, in a statement released after the one-on-one meeting with Lavrov. “No decent country by any definition could support the horrors that are perpetrated by ISIL, and no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to stand up and be part of the effort to stamp out this disease.”
Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama met with defense ministers from 22 countries that are a part of the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, and vowed to continue the campaign against ISIS. He also said that he is “deeply concerned about the situation in and around the Syrian town of Kobani.”
Local Kurdish officials reportedly said that the hill of Tal Shair, where militants of the Islamic State group had raised their flag last week, had been reclaimed. The fighters were reportedly assisted by more than 20 airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition in and around Kobani on Tuesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
As of now, the Islamic State group reportedly controls over a third of the Kurdish-populated town, including the headquarters of the Kurdish forces.
“This is going to be a long-term campaign,” Obama said on Tuesday, referring to the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. “There are not quick fixes involved. We’re still at the early stages. As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback."