Mattis Plans To Unleash An 'Annihilation Campaign' On ISIS

Syrian National flag hangs out of a damaged building at the mountain resort town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside Syria. The United States is looking ahead toward a decisive battleground in its bid to destroy the Isl

"Wherever", Mattis said. "By taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don't simply transplant this problem from one location to another". "It's not going to be US troops at the point of a gun making that happen".

The Trump administration is giving more leeway to field commanders and focusing on annihilating Islamic State forces, top USA officials said.

The US military is prohibited by law from coordinating directly with the Russian military, but given the increased pace and scale of military operations in Syria, the US and Russia have sought ways to ensure that their respective personnel are not targeted by mistake, setting up a series of "de-confliction zones" that would delineate exclusive areas of operation for the coalition and the Russian forces. At that time, the USA -led coalition primarily used airstrikes to attack ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria. In Europe last week for talks with coalition partners, Mattis said the extremists have lost "well over" half their territory in Iraq and Syria since 2014. U.S. officials have increasingly seen ISIS leadership leave Raqqa for Deir ez-Zor as the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces begin closing in on Raqqa.

Asked whether the proposal to Russian Federation would address the problem of a Syrian army presence in Deir el-Zour, Dunford said, "It will". A campaign to seize Mosul in Iraq has been mired in street-by-street fighting and a long-promised push to take Raqqa in Syria has yet to begin. The Pentagon refers to this area as the Middle Euphrates River Valley. Last month, Trump authorized a series of missile strikes on Syrian government targets after a chemical attack that officials suggested was covered up with the help of Russian Federation.

While U.S. military advisers worked in concert with the Iraqi army in the Mosul fight, the Raqqa fight will be different. They will be drawn from Deir el-Zour, which has come under increasing USA aerial bombardment, to the western Iraqi city of al-Qaim.

In Iraq, U.S. and coalition forces provide equipment and intelligence to Iraqi security forces, the chairman said.

A separate USA -backed group of Syrian rebels would push up from the south to block IS escape routes, the US officials said.

Reuters reported in late April that the Trump administration was weighing sending between 3,000 and 5,000 US and coalition troops to Afghanistan.

While the Middle Euphrates River Valley corridor may be the next key battleground, USA officials believe it will not be the last.

He said that recent attacks in Istanbul, Paris, and Brussels were planned and coordinated outside of ISIS' so-called Capitol in Syria, Raqqa, and that this required them to move quickly against all strongholds in their control.

First, James Mattis said, Trump has authorized him to delegate more decision-making authority down to US commanders who are on the ground with Iraqi and Syrian partners fighting ISIS, to speed up the program.

This cooperation has enabled closer political coordination between local, regional and national governments to help return people to their homes after the battles are won through an innovative post-conflict approach based on empowering people at the local level to restore life to their communities, McGurk said.

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