Russia should align itself with members of the US-led coalition fighting against the "Islamic State" (also known as Daesh) to eliminate the terrorist threat the group poses to Russia, US President Barack Obama told reporters in Paris Dec.1.
"Daesh ["Islamic State"] is going to continue to be a serious threat for some time to come, but I am confident that we are on a winning side of this, and that ultimately Russia is going to recognize the threat that ISIL poses to its country, to its people is the most significant and they need to align themselves with those of us who are fighting ISIL," Obama said.
The efforts to close the Turkish border with Syria have yielded serious progress, but some gaps still remain, US President Barack Obama added.
"I have had repeated conversations with President Erdogan about the need to close the border between Turkey and Syria," Obama said. "We have seen some serious progress on that front, but there are still some gaps."
Referring to the "Islamic State", Obama also said that, despite repeated meetings with President Putin of Russia, "I don't think you should be under any illusions now that Russia will start targeting only ISIL targets."
The Russians have been deeply invested in propping up the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Obama said, adding that he believed their commitment to the Syrian leader was not going to change anytime soon.
But he added that weeks of Russian airstrikes in the region had not led to substantial changes in the Syrian conflict, and he said that at some point Putin would recognize that he did not want to be involved in another quagmire, Obama said.
Russia began air operations in Syria on Sept. 30 to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Kremlin says the airstrikes are aimed at supporting the Assad regime against the Daesh militant group, but some members of the western NATO alliance believe Russia is targeting groups opposed to Assad -- including several that enjoy US and Turkish support.