French President Francoise Hollande welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
PARIS - Islamic State is losing territory in the Middle East and the Western-backed coalition is making inroads against the group, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.
"The level of cooperation could not be higher. We agreed to exchange more information and I'm convinced that over the course of the next weeks, Daesch [Islamic State] will feel greater pressure. They are feeling it today. They felt it yesterday. They felt it in the past weeks. We gained more territory. Daesch has less territory," he said, referring to the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
France carried out fresh air strikes on Islamic State bases in northern Syria on Tuesday as police made 128 overnight raids across the country in the hunt for accomplices to Friday's Paris attacks.
Kerry met French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday to express his condolences after the attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, and pledged stronger cooperation against Islamic State. He also confirmed that the French president would travel to Washington next week to meet US President Barack Obama.
Kerry: Islamic State is feeling the pressure, losing ground in Middle East
"I expressed the condolences of President Obama and the people of the United States to President Hollande and I thanked him for the extraordinary response of the French people, the courage that they have exhibited. We talked about the significant steps that we believe we can take together in a number of different areas to increase our efforts and be more effective even against Daesh. And we are already doing that," he said after the meeting.
French warplanes targeted a command center and a recruitment center for jihadists in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in the second consecutive night of strikes ordered by Hollande, a military command spokesman told Reuters.