French President Francois Hollande said on Friday he had told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin he must strike at “Daesh (the Islamic State or ISIS) and only Daesh” during Russian military action in Syria, the Al-Arabiya network reports.
Hollande was speaking after meeting Putin on Friday and ahead of talks on the future of Ukraine, where the two men were joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“What I told President Putin was that the strikes should concern Daesh and only Daesh. On that basis we have to hold everyone to their responsibilities,” Hollande said after the meetings in Paris, using an Arabic name for the jihadist group which has taken over swathes of land in Iraq and Syria and declared a “caliphate”.
Hollande said no link was made during the four-way talks between the situation in Ukraine and the one Syria, according to Al-Arabiya.
Hollande and Putin had an in-depth discussion about Syria on Friday in which they “tried to narrow down differences on political transition,” an aide to Hollande said after the two met in Paris.
The aide did not say if the two had reached any agreements during the conversation.
The meeting comes several days after Russia conducted its first airstrikes in Syria. Moscow claimed it had been targeting ISIS in the Homs and Hama districts of the country, but an American official later said the targets were U.S.-backed “moderate” rebel groups fighting ISIS.
Russia only gave the United States an hour’s warning ahead of the strikes and did not specify where they would occur, riling many in the Pentagon who had been hoping for clearer and more detailed lines of communication.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter later accused Russia of inflaming Syria’s civil war, saying Moscow’s military involvement in the war-torn nation was “doomed to fail” and that Moscow’s entry into the bloody conflict was akin to “pouring gasoline on the fire.”
Iran, however, gave the Russian airstrikes its seal of approval on Thursday, with its foreign ministry spokeswoman saying the airstrike are a step to solving “the crisis” in the region.