Obama Vows World Will Defeat ISIS, Urges Russia to Help

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Obama speaks in Antalya, Turkey. Nov. 16, 2015.
Obama speaks in Antalya, Turkey. Nov. 16, 2015.Credit: AP

U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday said the United States and its allies would not relent in its fight to combat Islamic State extremists and would hunt down their leaders and cut off the group's financing.

"Destroying (Islamic State) is not only a realistic goal, were going to get it done," he told a news conference after a meeting of Asian leaders in Malaysia.

"We will destroy them. We will take back land they are currently in, take out their financing, hunt down leadership, dismantle their networks, supply lines and we will destroy them."

Obama also said that Russia needs to make a strategic decision to go after the Islamic State group, not the moderate opposition forces trying to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. He says initial military operations by Russia did not add to efforts to deter ISIS, and in some ways, strengthened it.

A video grab shows an explosion after airstrikes were carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says was an ISIS explosives workshop, November 5, 2015.Credit: AFP

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed Obama's sentiment and urged Russia and the U.S. to cooperate in rooting out terrorism, saying he would unveil a comprehensive plan to fight extremism and violence early next year.

"All these terrorists and ideology extremists should be defeated in the name of humanity," he said at the annual East Asia Summit, this year hosted by Malaysia.

"In that regard, we need to unite. We need to show global solidarity to address ... the common enemy of ISIL, Daesh, some other extremists and terrorist groups," he said, referring to Islamic State. 

Obama says he told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a recent conversation that he needs to target those who killed Russian citizens. He says Russia has not officially committed to a transition that would move Assad out of power, but has agreed to a political transition process.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was more guarded, saying that countries with large populations of Muslims, including Russia, should unite to fight against ISIS.

"We need a consolidated anti-terrorist position of those countries that have a large Islamic community, and incidentally Russia is one of these countries," Medvedev said at the annual East Asia Summit hosted this year by Malaysia. 

Medvedev said "it is now clear we can only fight this threat by bringing our forces together and by working through such international institutions as the United Nations".