US vows stepped up fight on Islamic State group

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter walks out to welcome British Defense Minister Michael Fallon to the Pentagon in Washington, DC on December 11, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yuri Gripas) (AFP)

Washington (AFP) - The United States will intensify its efforts to destroy the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter pledged Friday.

A US-led coalition began bombing the group in both countries last year, after the jihadists overran large areas in a brutal campaign of beheadings and forced religious conversions.

The White House is, however, under growing pressure to do more, with President Barack Obama's administration criticized by opponents for what they say is a lack of discernable progress in eliminating the extremists.

"We are taking a number of steps... and we intend to take more to strengthen the execution of our strategy and hasten the defeat of ISIL," said Carter, speaking at a news conference in Washington alongside Michael Fallon, his British counterpart and ally in the bid to defeat the IS group.

"I expect in a week and two weeks and six weeks and so forth for us to be doing more and building more capability, and having more and more impact every week.

"That's the whole idea. That's what President Obama has asked to us to do, that's what we have been able to do and we will continue to do."

Obama will travel to the Pentagon Monday to take stock of the ongoing military efforts in Iraq and Syria.

The president will hunker down with his National Security Council and then make a statement, said his spokesman Josh Earnest. However, it is not expected to herald a major change in strategy.