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Conservative Review - Obama, Cameron urge Putin to collaborate in Islamic State fight
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THE CONSERVATIVE REVIEW - November 17, 2015
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*-- Obama, Cameron urge Putin to collaborate in Islamic State fight --*
BELEK, Turkey - U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have urged for Russian President Vladimir Putin's support in fighting against the Islamic State during the G-20 summit.
Cameron met with Putin for the first time in about a year Monday after a breakdown in relations between Britain and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, The Telegraph reported. Obama met with Putin on Sunday for a 30-minute discussion on Syria.
The agenda during the G-20 summit in Belek, Turkey, shifted after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris killed at least 129 people. The attacks have renewed an urgency to resolve the political and humanitarian crisis amid the Syrian civil war. The Islamic State's headquarters are believed to be in Raqqa, Syria, followed by a second stronghold in Mosul, Iraq.
The Islamic State -- also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL -- has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks. French officials have also blamed the militant Islamist group.
Russia recently became involved in the conflict by conducting airstrikes. At first, Russia said it bombed only Islamic State targets, but intelligence revealed the majority of Russian strikes were conducted on rebel forces that oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime Russian ally.
"We have our differences with the Russians, not least because they've done so much to degrade the non-ISIL opposition to Assad, people who could be part of the future of Syria," Cameron said ahead of the meeting with Putin. "But the conversation I want to have with Vladimir Putin is to say 'look, there is one thing we agree about which is we'd be safer in Russia, we'd be safer in Britain if we destroy ISIL.' That's what we should be focusing on."
After the Sunday meeting with Putin, Obama "welcomed efforts by all nations to confront the terrorist group ISIL and noted the importance of Russia's military efforts in Syria focusing on the group."
Syria has been blighted by a complex civil war in which the Islamic State, the Syrian government and multiple Syrian rebel groups fight for control of territory, causing a mass exodus of migrants seeking refuge elsewhere.
More than 3 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq and nearly 800,000 have reached several countries of the European Union, creating a migrant crisis that's straining economies attempting to cope with the influx of asylum-seekers.
Speaking at the G-20 summit, European Council President Donald Tusk said Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war has increased the number of migrants fleeing Syria and reaching Europe, adding that Russia should target Islamic State militants and not "moderate Syrian opposition" as Russia attempts to support longtime ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"We need not only more cooperation, but also more good will, especially from Russian action on the ground in Syria," Tusk said, warning that Russia's operations will "only result [in] a new wave of refugees. And we have some signals that in fact it's started.''
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