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President Obama Ramping Up ISIS Fight 'On All Fronts'

President Obama also said Thursday that the Russian intervention has made the “human catastrophe” in Syria even worse.
US President Barack Obama speaks following a meeting with the National Security Council (NSC) on February 25, 2016 at the State Department in Washington, DC.MANDEL NGAN / AFP - Getty Images

The United States will ramp up its campaign against ISIS "on all fronts" President Obama said Thursday evening — and he added that Russian intervention has made the “human catastrophe” in Syria even worse.

Speaking after a meeting at the State Department with his National Security Council, Obama said that he has directed his team to advance the fight against extremists and that other U.S. allies “have agreed to increase their contributions.”

Obama said Dutch aircraft were now striking ISIS targets in Syria, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also "ramping up efforts" in their air campaigns.

He also said that the United States' own air campaign, which he said has hit the militant group with 10,000 strikes so far, "continues to destroy (ISIS) forces, infrastructure and their weapons."

Obama also underscored the importance of the impending ceasefire in Syria, which is set to take effect on Saturday.

The United States and Russia, who back opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, agreed upon the terms of the "cessation of hostilities" between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and armed opposition groups earlier this month.

“This is a tough situation with a lot of moving parts,” he said of the civil war in Syria.

"None of us are under any illusions, but history would judge us harshly if we did not do our part in diplomacy," he added.

The truce, however, does not cover terrorist groups, like ISIS and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Even as he highlighted the importance of the ceasefire, Obama continued to criticize Russia’s military role in the region.

"Russia’s intervention and airstrikes have reinforced the Assad regime and made humanitarian catastrophe even worse," he said.

Obama acknowledged that there was still significant dispute between the United States, Russia, Iran and others as to the best path to Syria’s future, but said "the question is going to be whether the cessation of hostilities gives all the parties concerned an opportunity to reflect and assess what, in fact, will be required in order for us to see an end to the fighting in Syria."