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US urges anti-IS coalition to step up after abrupt pullout

WASHINGTON — Foreign ministers and senior officials from the 79-member, U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition are meeting in Washington to develop a way ahead after President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw American forces from Syria.

The conference comes amid fears that the impending U.S. exit could imperil gains that have swept IS from more than 99 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has opened the meeting with a call for coalition partners to keep up the fight and ensure the permanent defeat of the extremist group.

Pompeo says the troop withdrawal is only a tactical decision and that America will continue the fight.

Trump plans to urge the group later Wednesday to stay the course and step up contributions to stabilization efforts.