tv Defense Department Briefing on Military Operations Against ISIS CSPAN November 25, 2015 12:14am-1:04am EST
background. at the same time, it cannot be a better symbol for response but to hold a conference in paris where the attacks took place, where we took the right measures in terms of security, protections and defending our values. there is no greater symbol than holding this conference on climate in paris with some 150 heads of state and government. never before did france host so many leaders of the international community. they are coming to sort out the climate challenge and to work and find the right agreements so we can limit greenhouse gas emissions and make sure our children and our grandchildren live better or simply can live.
but they are also coming to express their support to freedom, to the fight against extremism. radical islam is becoming dangerous. yes, all of them are coming no matter their background, no matter their religion, their convictions to express the same values and principles with the same words, life. yes, simply life. and the reason why -- and that's the reason why president obama will allow us to succeed.
i commend his recent statements for the past few weeks and moments but i also commend the commitment he has made in the name of the united states and in the name of the world. it was very important that one of the most powerful countries in the world if not the most powerful and therefore with the highest level of emissions. could also be there to face the future like we have been facing history. what we will be doing early next week in paris means that we can continue to live as well as protect our lives and that of all children. france and the united states, given their history, and their founding values of both our nations, we both have that duty to act as a matter of urgency.
urgency against terrorism and at the same time, to prepare for the future. against that background, even though it is a very dire one, i am pleased to be with barack obama to send that message to the entire world, thank you. president obama: we have time for a few questions. >> this is a question for both of you. what is your reaction to turkey shooting down a russian plane today? and as the strong nato into a -- and does this to draw nato into a confrontation with russia? how do you keep this from spiraling out of control? president obama, what does this mean for the prospect of more military coordination with russia? and president hollande, what are the prospects for closer
military coordination with russia, given what happened today? president obama: first of all, we are still getting the details of what happened. i expect to be in communications, potentially directly, with the president in the next several days. turkey, like every country, has a right to defend is territory and its airspace. i think it is very important right now for us to make sure both the russians and the turks are talking to each other. find out exactly what happened, and take measures to discourage any type of escalation. i do think that this points to an ongoing problem with the russian operations.
in the sense that they are operating very closely to a turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only turkey but a wide range of countries. if russia is directing his energies toward isil, some of those conflicts or potentials for mistakes and escalation are less likely to occur. and because underscores the point of us making sure that we move this political track forward as quickly as possible. like president francois hollande, our view from the start has been that russia is welcome to be part of this broad-based coalition that we have set up. there has never been a point in time in which we sat that we do not want russia or other countries that may have differences with us on a host of other things to avoid working with us against isil.
the challenge has been russia's focus on propping up for cheryl assad rather than focusing on isil. a upssadng up a rather than focusing on isil. i had a conversation with president putin in turkey as i indicated to him at the time, that to the extent they make that strategic shift, focus on the vienna process where they had been instructed to bring the parties together, to try to execute a political transition, that all parties would agree to, and retirement this -- and refocus attention on going after isil, then there is enormous capacity for us to cooperate. until that happens, it is very difficult. it is difficult because it is their priority to attack the moderate opposition that might
be future members of an inclusive syrian government. russia is not going to get the support from us or a range of other members of the coalition. i do think that there is the possibility for operations. the sooner we agree to this political process, the less likely you have the kinds of events that took place, apparently, today. president hollande: the event that took place is a serious one and we can only regretted. turkey is currently providing all of the information to nato so that we can find out what truly happened, and whether turkey's airspace indeed was entered into.
we must prevent an escalation in that would be extremely damaging. the only purpose is to fight against terrorism. this is what we must do, all of us. we, turkey, russia, and what took place like that, means that we must find solutions to the syrian conflict because we can see what the risks are other way. otherwise, we can see what the risks are, the risks of escalation. i therefore will be traveling to russia this week because we have this resolution of the security council. it does show that we must take action against terrorism. that has been voted unanimously.
and the broadest possible coalition. then i will ask president putin, what i have told them a number of times already. to stand strong against isis, against terrorism. those who are threatening us, they are threatening the russians. like france that was targeted over the last few days, we must coordinate ourselves, cooperate. we're all acting against isis and we are part of the political process, one that must lead to this. and we all know what the outcomes of the solution art moore or not.
-- what the parameters of the solution are or are not. the charles de gaulle aircraft carrier is in the southern mediterranean. there are also some russian forces, and are agreed that we must share our intelligence, so we can act in coordination. we must not keep it to ourselves. it is already the case and we will continue to do so. >> mr. president, the americans have some special forces in syria, beyond the words of what is happening. are you going to send some special forces to syria? you going to do some ground intervention there? beyond the emotion that we can feel here, beyond these
beautiful statements, for more than a year we have heard all of you saying that this is necessary in syria. can you in here, in front of us, tell us a specific date for a time to go? president hollande: i will not provide you with a date. because it may be as soon as possible. that is one of the requirements. but at the same time let me
to underline something. there is a new mindset now. the crisis in syria has been ongoing for four years. four years. there are probably more than 300,000 deaths. and this is not just relevant to the countries of the region who are hosting the refugees, it is relevant to the rest of the world now. and those who believe that we could wait some more, and that in any case it is far away, these are lies. we have an influx of refugees that the terrorists, the risk is everywhere. we must therefore act. you also asked me what we were going to do, what more we were going to do.
we will intensify the strikes. we will have more specific targets to make sure that the resources and supplies are cut off. including command centers, the trucks carrying oil, their trading centers where they plan terror attacks. we will continue and we will put our strikes at the heart of the cities where they are. france will not intervene militarily on the ground. it is for the local forces to do so. we have been supporting them for a number of months. we will continue to do so. we will do the job on the ground after our strikes that will enable to do so. we will take our responsibilities regarding that support absolutely necessary.
president obama: i have a couple of broader comments against isil. as was are the indicated, we have taken thousands of strikes, thousands of high school writers, including top commanders and leaders off the battlefield. we have squeezed their supply lines. we have empowered and armed local groups that are pushing against them including most recently providing training and assistance to the iraqi government. as they prepare to retake places like ramadi that have been overrun.
we have seen some success, but the question now is how can we accelerate it? even before the tragedy in paris i had gathered together my national security forces raided had been a year, to review what had worked, what had not. and had put together a plan to accelerate and advance the pressure that we can place on isil. we intend to execute on those plans but we also think as francois said that there may be new openness on the part of other coalition members to help resource and provide additional assistance both to the coalition as a whole and to local forces on the ground. with respect to mr. assad, we have to let the process play itself out. it is our best opportunity. the notion that there would be an immediate date in advance of us getting a broad agreement on the political process and the details, i think does not make sense.
as soon as we have a framework for political transition, potentially a new constitution, elections, i think it is in the context that we can start looking at mr. assad choosing not to run and potentially seeing a new syria emerge. but it will be hard. we should not be under any illusions. syria has broken down. it began to break down the moment that mr. assad started killing indiscriminately his own people. isil was able to move in in part because of a thorough rejection on the part of many syrians of the assad regime.
a power vacuum emerged. it is going to be a difficult, long, methodical process to bring back together various factions within syria to maintain a syrian state and institutions, and to create the kind of stability that allows people to start coming together and rebuilding their lives. but it is possible. and the urgency that we have seen, even before paris out of countries like russia shows that they recognize they cannot be there too long and ultimately win a military battle successfully. olivia knox. >> thank you. mr. president, can you tell us if the russian plane did reach turkish airspace?
and how concerned are you that there would be expanded coalition interest action? when it comes to threatening the corporation, having taken months or weeks ago that they would have prevented the attacks? president obama: we do not have all the information yet. i do not want to comment on the specifics and we will be governed all that information. we expect the turks to provide information. i'm sure the russians will have some information. we will be able to confirm what happened in part through our own intelligence and our own tracking of that area.
as francois indicated, my top priority is going to be to ensure that this does not escalate. and hopefully this is a moment in which all parties can step back and make a determination as to how their interests are best served. the russians had several hundred people of their own killed by isil. of the flow of foreign fighters out of russian areas into syria poses an enormous long-term threat to russian territory. there is a potential convergence of interests between the various parties. it requires us working with him to make the kind of strategic shift that is necessary, at franklin that i talked about for five years now.
it requires recognition that the existing structure cannot gain legitimacy to stop the war. and until you stop the war you will have a vacuum in which these kinds of terrorist organizations can operate more frequently. -- more effectively. let me say one last name, because i tracked the question you posed to president ollanta about what could or could not have been prevented. all of our intelligence personnel, across the united states, across the atlantic worked tirelessly to disrupt plots and prevent terrorist attacks. the vast majority of their successes in disrupting plots are not advertised. you never hear about them. if it were not for the dedication of those intelligence and law enforcement
professionals this would be a much more dangerous world. you have to be careful about speculating what if could have and would have in a situation like this. it is hard. you have eight individuals with light weapons. - that is a hard thing to track. what is true is that we can do a better job coordinating between countries. i have been talking to our european partners for quite some time now about the need for better intelligence sharing, passenger name records, working to ensure when people enter into europe, particularly now, that the information across various borders is shared on a timely basis and you have biometric
information and other technologies. you can make it more accurate. it does not mean it will be 100% full print -- foolproof but will be better on the fronts. one of the challenges has been, frankly, in the past several years that legal concerns about privacy and civil liberties, which are entirely legitimate, i do not think that those can be ignored. that is part of the values that make us who we are, and that we have to adhere to. but i think that this is a reminder that this is a dangerous world. and rooting out small bands of terrorist groups who maintain good operational securitand are using modern technologies in
ways that are hard to track about that is a tough job. we are all going to the pool our resources more effectively together than we have in the past. i think when the president goes back to europe his leadership and the leadership of other presidents and prime ministers around this issue is going to be as important as anything we do. president hollande: allowing to go back to what the issue truly is. -- to what daesh
truly is. it is an organization, a terrorist group and a territory in iraq in syria, killing, and they want to enforce rules that dishonor humanity. this is what they are doing there. this is what they are trying to do in other countries everywhere. and then we have to deal with the individuals who are being used in terror attacks. we know the dreadful plan was prepared in syria, and then organized in another country. and there were some a couple's list -- some accomplices in france.
those who committed the act of war. if we want to tackle terrorism, we must act not on this not only to destroy where they are in syria and iraq, but we must also dismantle and destroyed the networks. how can we proceed? first of all, militarily come up our strikes, by taking back to these territories, supporting the troops on the ground. making sure that the to territorial integrity is approved. this is what we can do. and then when it comes to protective measures to protect our territory and our people,
this is what i announced in france, and this is what we have to do to and eradicate these networks and all of these accomplices. some of them just arrived. others have been there for a long time. they are not necessarily identified at this time. it is therefore necessary that we strengthen cooperation in terms of intelligence. the paris attacks generated a lot of emotion, but that is not enough. compassion, solidarity, i take note of it. but we must act, and for a number of days now i have been trying to events all the countries who can act to do so. i met with david cameron
yesterday. he announced that he would take a number of measures to his parliament. that is important. today i am here with barack obama so that we can act with greater intensity and coherence as well. tomorrow i will be meeting german chancellor angela merkel that european countries including germany can face up to the responsibility, in terms of military intelligence and political cooperation and maybe more. i will also travel to moscow, so that russia can take action against isil. and then, i will receive the head of the italian government. i will also have the ability to talk to all the european leaders, as it will be held on
sunday. it is all of that, getting together, and enabling us to coordination, cooperation, and action so that we can act on isil, and the network. it is my strength which will enable us to succeed. data that strength which will enable us to succeed. >> wealth of you have talked about coordination cooperation. does it mean that a single coalition which you mentioned last week is gone? is it conceivable to help the russians and the americans to work together under a single command? and then you said you could not put a date on his departure.
-- and then on bashar assad, you said you could not put a date on his departure. this funding that mean that his departure is not a preamble or prerequisite for the future of syria? president hollande: would regarding the coalition of the international community, i believe that was approved by all of the security council. it enabled us to say that now the entire world is committed to fighting against that. -- fighting against daesh. and then, and this is what i will check when i travel to moscow, we need one single goal, that is, to tackle terrorism and fight against isis militarily. i believe we can have some critical operation and coordination militarily. at the same time we have to be clear what it comes to the -- clear when it comes to the
political solution. brush al-assad cannot be the future of syria. we are already working with all of the countries, even though they do not have the same sense that turkey -- the united states, france, all of those who managed to find this. we must work on this. the transition where the sheer all aside plays no role, he has been the problem, so he cannot be the solution. president obama: we have a coalition. 65 countries who have been active in pushing back against isil for quite some time.
france has been a central part of the coalition. as have european countries, arab countries, countries as far-flung as australia and countries in southeast asia are part of that coalition. russia right now is a coalition of 2. iran and russia supporting bashir al-assad. given russia's military capabilities, and given the influence they have on the assad regime, them cooperating would be enormously helpful in bringing about resolution of the civil war in syria, and allow us all to refocus our attention on isil. but i think it is important to remember that you have a global
coalition organized. russia is the outlier. we hope that they refocus their attention on what is the most substantial threat, and that they serve as a constructive or. -- constructive partner. and if and when they do, it will make it easier for us to go after isil. i think it is important to recognize the kind of airstrikes they are carrying out, just like the reference we are carrying out in the the cells are not sufficient to the work that we do to bolster local fighting forces. cutting off supply lines, financing, oil, reducing the flow of foreign partiers -- fighters, the intelligent workman is to be done, all of that is something that we are doing now.
they can supplement. but that is going to be a process that involves hard, methodical work. it is not going to be something that happens just because suddenly we take a few more airstrikes. and that is the kind of hard work that i know france is prepared to do. united states prepared to do. and perhaps russia will be as well. thank you very much. and the russian jet that was shot down by targets forces. this is 50 minutes.
>> i will start with today's news. the turkish government announced two f-16s engaged to russian su 24's and one russian aircraft was shot down. col. warren: the russian ministry of defense has announced an investigation into the crash. this is an incident between the russian and turkish governments. it does not involve operation in heron result. our combat operations against isil continues. as plans and we are striking in both iraq and syria. indigenous ground forces continue to consolidate gains. we are seeing the impact, and that's what i want to talk about today.
go ahead and bring up the map. in ramadi, in addition to movement on all axes, engineer teams have made significant contributions to the fight. iragi explosives ordnance teams continue to destroy ied's, including the detonation of a factory, which destroyed 60 ied's. this is a notable fact in our recent analysis. as of now we estimate that only , 5% of isil's work is effective. the attribute this to the sharpened ability of isf to identify and destroy them. as well as targeted strikes.
to destroy the factories and to impact their supply chain. along the moral line -- vetted syrian opposition forces and new forces began offense of operations to seize two areas last friday. after a tough fight, these forces successfully sees both towns. it is important because it is the first successful offensive operation since it june along the line. it also included members of the new syrian forces. again, these are the forces that we trained. we took them out of syria after proper vetting and we train them and infiltrated them back into syria. this is a program that we have discontinued. isil iso-lost these towns and the ability to use them. i want to show you this video.
capable of here, and also terrain denial. sometimes you will see in our press releases where it says terrain denial. this is an example of terrain denial. isil longer be able to use that bridge to send vbieds against our forces. the second is from operation title wave strike against the illicit oil system of isil. early sunday morning november , 22, we conducted a larger strike near two areas in syria. that strike destroyed 283 oil tanker trucks. as we did on the first strike against tanker trucks, we conducted a leaflet drop ahead of time to warn civilian drivers to leave the area before that strike. please role this second video. this is about three minutes long. col. warren: again, another
example of the type of accuracy we are capable of. to close out my remarks. late last week, russia issued a statement and a video of a claim they attacked and destroyed 500 isil fuel tankers. we took a look at those reports and saw the video, and the battle damage assessment they issued seems to be exaggerated. more than likely the russian attack did not produce results they claim it produced. finally, before we go to questions, i want to remind you
who isil is and how ruthless they are. i november 18, iraqi forces in ramadi observed 22 civilians trying to get away from the fighting. as the civilians neared the isif, isil opened fire and they shot a little boy in the stomach. luckily they were able to , evacuate the civilians, stabilize the boy, and transport him to the hospital. it appeared from the reports that isil was using the civilians as bait to get the isif to come out. so they could fire on them. this concludes my remarks but i -- this concludes my remarks but i will take your questions.
reporter: a question about that shootdown of the russian plane. did u.s. personnel hear or see any aspect of that sequence of events? and were there any additional incidents today involving the shootdown of russian aircraft? col. warren: so, there were no u.s. personnel in the vicinity of this incident, so we did not observe it in any way. col. warren: so, there were no u.s. personnel in the vicinity we are working to get confirmation of that. reporter: in light of what happened today, could you
explain to us in more detail about the u.s. f-15s that are in turkey. i know they are requested to be there to protect airspace, but are they flying daily patrols or only taking off when they are called upon? if they were in a situation like the turkish pilots found themselves in today, what are the rules of engagement? col. warren: the f-15s -- there are f-15s, as you know, in turkey. some are conducting ground attack operations against isil in iraq and syria. others are assisting the turks with some of their combat troll duties. none of the f-15s were in the vicinity of this incident when it took place, and so it had
nothing to do with it. i will not detail the rules of engagement for our f-15s. this is information that others would like to know, so we want to keep it to ourselves so we don't get tested. we do conduct patrolling. obviously, it is a very large border and an f-15 can't be everywhere at once. the situation with russia happened rapidly, incursion, contact, and the actual incident itself. there were no at 15's in the area -- f-15s in the area. this is something that took place between the russians and the turks. reporter: the understanding with the russians and the skies over syria and communication set up with the russians, with that apply to the border of turkey if u.s. warplanes were flying there?
col. warren: there are some lines there. if the f 15's helping with the turks that belong to year up in command are not associated with ca tf lines there. reporter: did you -- is it true that you would have seen it, but you did track it on your radars, able to observe the radar the russian flight, and given that, do you believe it was in turkish airspace? col. warren: certainly we have radars and other acquisition