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Syria on Agenda as Jordan's King Visits White House

FILE - President Barack Obama, Feb. 20, 2016.

President Barack Obama is hosting Jordan's King Abdullah II at the White House on Wednesday for talks focused on the battle against the Islamic State group and the humanitarian fallout from the war in Syria.

Jordan has been taking part in the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets in both Iraq and Syria.

A White House statement said the two leaders will discuss efforts to counter the militants as well as ways to resolve the five-year Syrian conflict.

The meeting comes as the U.S. and Russia work to convince opposing sides in Syria to participate in a cease-fire starting on Saturday.

FILE - A Syrian army soldier stands on top of a vehicle carrying a gun in Salma, Syria.
FILE - A Syrian army soldier stands on top of a vehicle carrying a gun in Salma, Syria.

The Syrian war, and to a lesser extent the violence in Iraq, have prompted a massive wave of refugees to seek safety in Jordan.

The United Nations said 638,000 Syrians and tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees are currently in Jordan, a nation of about 8 million people.

Refugee populations

Jordan and other countries in the region that are supporting large refugee populations have struggled with the burden of providing services. Wednesday's meetings will include discussion of how the U.S. can support Jordan in that effort.

The leaders are also due to discuss how to move forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Jordan Sunday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and reiterated his urge for calm and a decrease in violence.

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