The United States will increase pressure on ISIS 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, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday.
Addressing top officials from an international coalition of 68 nations battling ISIS 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.
Tillerson also said that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will inevitably be killed as coalition and local forces continue to pile pressure on the extremists in Syria and Iraq.
“Nearly all of Abu Bakr Baghdadi’s deputies are now dead, including the mastermind behind the attacks in Brussels, Paris and elsewhere,” he said.
“It is only a matter of time before Baghdadi himself meets this same fate.”