Kerry heads to Middle East, seeks support for anti-IS efforts

Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive in the Middle East Tuesday to garner support for efforts to combat the Islamic State (IS) militants.

 Kerry heads to Middle East, seeks support for anti-IS efforts

US Secretary of State John Kerry. AFP

During his visit, Kerry will hold bilateral discussions with Jordanian and Saudi officials, spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said in a statement.

Psaki said coalition-building will be the "focus" of the trip, with possible halts in other countries besides Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well, Xinhua reported.

The IS previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) has seized swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and has killed and forced thousands of people mainly from minority communities to flee their homes.

US warplanes have bombed targets of the militant group in northern Iraq since August 8 and President Barack Obama has approved surveillance flights over Syria.

Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel met with ministers of some allies on the sidelines of a NATO summit held in Wales last week to mobilise support for US operations against the IS.

Obama is scheduled to make a speech on Wednesday to outline his plans for fighting the group.

IANS

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Updated Date: Sep 09, 2014 10:14:18 IST