Mattis Gives Update on ISIS: ‘They Are No Longer Carrying an Air of Strength’

• May 19, 2017 1:27 pm


Defense Secretary James Mattis updated the press on the coalition effort against the Islamic State terrorist group on Friday.

"From the Philippines to Europe and beyond, while ISIS remains dangerous, they are no longer carrying an air of strength," he said.

Mattis said that President Donald Trump ordered an "accelerated" operation against ISIS, noting two significant changes that resulted from Trump's review of the Pentagon's findings.

"First, he delegated authority to the right level to aggressively and in a timely manner move against enemy vulnerabilities," Mattis said. " Secondly, he directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of seized locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy and their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS."

Mattis said that their intent is to prevent escaped foreign fighters from returning home and that this will need to be a coalition effort of commitment at the political and military level to defeat ISIS.

"Twenty-six of our coalition nations contribute militarily, including more than 4,000 non-US troops in the ground and in the air," Mattis said. "Our recent coalition meetings in Brussels, Copenhagen, and elsewhere reflect an energized campaign among contributing nations."

Mattis then pivoted to talking about the military's accomplishments during their campaign to combat ISIS.

"We have fought ISIS elements from southeast Asia to Africa, collaboration among many nations, intelligence services continues to complicate and blunt ISIS operations even as ISIS continues to pursue and conduct attacks against the United States and our allies through centralized directed plots, but also through inspired attacks," he said.

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.

"West Mosul in accordance with tactics changed by President Trump is surrounded and our Iraqi partners are in a good fight," Mattis said. "There is no escape for ISIS even while we do all that is humanly possible to shepherd the innocent out of harms way."

"We have retaken over 55 percent of ISIS territory there in the core. Over 4 million people have been liberated and not one inch of territory seized from ISIS has been recaptured from them– excuse me, recaptured by them," Mattis added.

Published under: Islamic State, James Mattis