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US, France “ready” to escalate military offensive against IS 

Paris, Nov 17 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday said Washington and France were ready to stage a strong military offensive against Islamic State (IS) insurgents in Syria in coming weeks after it claimed responsibility for the November 13 Paris attacks.

“I’m convinced that over the course of the next weeks, IS will feel greater pressure that we are going to make to defeat it. They are feeling it today. They felt it yesterday,” said Kerry after he met French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

Kerry flew to France on Monday to pay tribute to the 129 victims killed at coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in Paris, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We agreed to exchange information. We will take all the measure in all areas to increase our efforts and action against IS,” Kerry added.

France was the first European country to join the US-led coalition to battle IS in Iraq and Syria in a move to halt the Islamist group’s offensive in the region where it had seized major regions.

Kerry said Hollande would travel to Washington next week to meet his US counterpart Barack Obama.

A meeting between Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin is also scheduled for next week in a bid to forge a strong front to eradicate terrorists.

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