Trump team hosts anti- ISIS meeting

Major General Rupert Jones Britain's top commander in Iraq and Syria has warned foreign fighters travelling to join Islamic State in the region

Addressing top officials from the global coalition, Tillerson said the United States will increase pressure on Daesh and al Qaeda and work to setup "interim zones of stability" to help refugees return home inthe next phase of the battle to defeat the groups.

Tillerson made this known while addressing a meeting of 68 countries gathered in Washington to discuss the fight to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"The United States will increase our pressure on ISIS and al-Qaeda and will work to establish interim zones of stability, through ceasefires, to allow refugees to return home", Tillerson told the gathering at the state department.

ISIL has been losing ground in both Iraq and Syria, with three separate forces, backed by the United States, Turkey and Russian Federation, advancing on the group's Syrian stronghold city of Raqqa.

Although Tillerson alluded to the intensified campaign, he said the Trump administration was still refining its strategy. An additional one thousand or more US soldiers are set to be deployed into Syria to work with the Syrian Democratic Forces Coalition and the Syrian Arab Coalition to achieve this goal. "A digital caliphate must not flourish in the place of a physical one".

The story Tillerson urges other countries to cough up more for war on IS first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald. The delegates also praised Iraqi forces for ridding more than 60 percent of Iraq of the terrorists, and said they were "gratified" that the group had lost more than one-third of the territory it once controlled there.

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Wednesday's event marked the first full meeting of the coalition since 2014 and the first of the Trump administration.

"As we stabilize areas encompassing ISIS's phony physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria, we also must prevent their seeds of hatred from taking root elsewhere", Tillerson said.

Most popular: London Slams Donald Trump Jr. Unlike in Iraq, where Baghdad is a state actor that the US military has chosen to work by, with and through to take the fight to ISIS, the United States refuses to formally work with Damascus. Instead of unveiling that secret plan after he was elected, Trump signed an executive order on January 28 directing his national security team to come up with a strategy to defeat the group.

"I recognize there are many pressing challenges in the Middle East, but defeating ISIS is the United States number one goal in the region", Tillerson said.

Despite Turkey's concerns, the USA military seems poised to work by, with and through the Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian Arab Coalition to surround Raqqa, with the intent to seize the city by the summer. "We will use our diplomatic presence on the ground to facilitate channels of dialogue between local leadership and coalition partners". "In Washington, we promised an extra 235 million euros to people in Iraq and Syria for humanitarian aid and stabilization", German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, according to Sputnik. However, he added that "as a coalition we are not in the business of nation building or reconstruction", emphasizing that funds should be used to counter the threat from militant groups, and in turn, enable the countries to rebuild themselves. But he said other nations, particularly those which have faced IS or IS-inspired attacks, must contribute more militarily or financially.

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