Kremlin analysts say Putin may simply be seizing an opportunity to repair frayed relations with the West.
"I think that the Paris bombing has produced a short-term kumbaya with Mr. Putin. I don't think it's gonna last, I don't think Obama or Putin trust each other, but they need each other right now," said Eurasia Group Chairman Cliff Kupchan.
One of the coalition's most pressing needs is intelligence sharing to track foreign fighters and target ISIS leaders.
Consolidating resources is key, says Mr. Obama's former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
"Air attacks are great, but, at the same, if you don't have good targets on the ground, it doesn't do much in terms of destabilizing the enemy," said Panetta.
Coordination may increase after the French president travels to both Moscow and Washington next week. But it is clear that tensions remain. On Wednesday, Russia's top diplomat compared the U.S. reluctance to send ground troops to a cat who wants to eat a fish but refuses to get its feet wet.