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U.S. to set up zones for refugees in fight against Islamic State -Tillerson

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will increase pressure on Islamic State and al Qaeda and work to set up “interim zones of stability” to help refugees return home in the next phase of the battle to defeat the groups, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday.

Addressing top officials from an international coalition of 68 nations battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Tillerson did not elaborate on where the United States planned to set up these safety zones.

“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,” he told the meeting at the State Department.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Yara Bayoumy