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US Secretary of State Promises Interim Safe Zones for Refugees | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Jordanian soldier carries a Syrian refugee child to help him board a Jordanian army vehicle with his family after they crossed into Jordanian territory, in Al Ruqban border area, near the northeastern Jordanian border with Syria, and Iraq, near the town of Ruwaished, 240 km (149 miles) east of Amman September 10, 2015. Picture taken September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the US would establish “interim zones of stability” to help refugees return home in the next phase of the fight against terror groups ISIS and al Qaeda.

Tillerson did not make it clear as to where these zones were to be set up. He was addressing a meeting convened in Washington to discuss the fight to defeat ISIS.

“The United States will increase 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.

The United States will do its part but circumstances on the ground require more, Tillerson said, urging allies to allocate more military, financial resources toward defeating ISIS.

Creating safe zones could increase US military involvement in Syria and mark a major departure from President Barack Obama’s more cautious approach.

Stepping up US or allied air power would be required should President Donald Trump chooses to enforce ‘no fly’ restrictions, and ground forces might also be needed to protect civilians in those areas.

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