President Barack Obama said the US-led coalition "will not relent" until the Islamic State (Isis) is destroyed, calling the militant group "a bunch of killers with good social media". "We are going to keep on rolling back [the] ISIL (IS) in Iraq and in Syria and take out more of their leaders and commanders so that they do not threaten us.
"And we will destroy this terrorist organisation," Obama said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. The US has led a year-long bombing campaign against the IS but has come under pressure to do more in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people. Obama stepped up his rhetoric against the IS but his remarks did not signal a shift in strategy.
"We will not accept the idea that terrorist assaults on restaurants and theatres and hotels are the new normal – or that we are powerless to stop them," he said. "After all, that's precisely what terrorists like [the] Isil want, because, ultimately, that's the only way that they can win.
"That's the very nature of terrorism – they can't beat us on the battlefield, so they try to terrorise us into being afraid, into changing our patterns of behaviour, into panicking, into abandoning our allies and partners, into retreating from the world. As president, I will not let that happen."
Obama added that there was an "increasing awareness" on the part of Russia that the IS posed a greater threat to them than anything else in the region, and hinted at the US working with the Kremlin to defeat the jihadist group.
Moscow stepped up its aerial campaign against the IS in Syria after it confirmed that a bomb brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt last month. The IS-affiliated Sinai Province group claimed responsibility for the attack in which 224 people died, saying it was revenge for Russia's intervention in Syria.
The US president expressed concern over reports that the US Central Command (Centcom) had distorted intelligence assessments of the military campaign against the IS to make them seem more upbeat. He said he had ordered Pentagon's inspector general to "get to the bottom" of the allegations.
"One of the things that I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don't want intelligence shaded by politics," the US commander-in-chief stated. "I don't want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story."
Meanwhile, leading Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein urged the Obama administration to do more to defeat the IS. "I don't think the approach is sufficient to the job," she told CBS. "We need to be aggressive now, because [the] Isil is quasi-state. [The] Isil has 30,000 fighters. It's got a civil infrastructure. It's got funding. It's spreading in other countries. And it's a big, big problem. It's enormously strong. And it has to be dealt with in a very strong manner."