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Obama: Russian Air Strikes Need To Focus On IS

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama says Russia needs to make a strategic decision to go after the Islamic State (IS) militant group, not the moderate Syrian opposition forces fighting against the government in Damascus.

Speaking at a news conference in Malaysia on November 22, Obama called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to align himself with the U.S.-led coalition, noting that IS was accused of bringing down a Russian passenger jet last month, killing 224 people.

Putin "needs to go after the people who killed Russia's citizens," Obama said.

Russia began its bombing campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30, and pledged to step up the strikes after IS militants claimed to have downed the Russian plane.

Obama also said the United States and its partners "will not relent" in the fight against IS, insisting the world would not accept the extremists' attacks against civilians in Paris and elsewhere as the "new normal."

Based on reporting by AP

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