Obama: ISIS terrorism is 'a scourge that threatens all of us'

President Obama is vowing to step up efforts to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, declaring the group "must be destroyed."

"This was not only a strike against one of the world’s great cities, it was an attack against the world itself," Obama said during a press conference at the White House alongside French President François Hollande.


"It is a scourge that threatens all of us. And that’s why, for more than a year, the United States, France and our coalition of some 60 nations have been united in one mission: to defeat these ISIL terrorists and defeat their vile ideology," Obama said, using an alternate acronym for the group. 

Obama noted the breadth of the deadly attacks in Paris, suggesting they were indiscriminate of nationalities and threatened "free and open societies."

"It cannot be tolerated. It must be destroyed, and we must do it together," Obama said. 

Obama has faced increased criticism of his strategy to defeat ISIS following the Nov. 13 attacks that left 130 dead and hundreds more injured. France, with U.S. support, has ratcheted up its airstrikes against ISIS after the attacks.

Obama vowed Tuesday to step up U.S. coordination with France and to push for Europe to share passenger information to identify foreign fighters returning home.

He maintained that the U.S.-led efforts "have pushed ISIL back from territory in both Iraq and Syria," adding that Hollande "agreed that our nations must do even more together." 

Obama and Hollande have discussed working more closely with Russia in an attempt to defeat ISIS in the Middle East, including the Islamic militants' stronghold in Syria.

The president opened the door to Russia playing a bigger role in the effort but said that would depend on Russia focusing its airstrikes in Syria on ISIS, not against moderate Syrian forces fighting the government there. Russia has been conducting strikes in Syria since September.

Obama said he thinks “there is the possibility of cooperation" with Russia on fighting ISIS.

"Russia is welcome to be part of this broad-based coalition that we've set up,” he said.

- This story was updated at 12:46 p.m.