During a Pentagon briefing on Friday, U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, laid out a series of coalition successes in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and explained how they lay the ground work for the continued “annihilation of ISIS.”
“Thanks to the leadership and authorities granted by President (Donald J.) Trump, thanks to the spirit of dozens of nations committed to this fight, thanks to the nations whose troops have gone toe-to-toe with this terrorist group … we have retaken over 55 percent of ISIS territory there in the core,” Mattis said while flanked by Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Over four million people have been liberated. And not one inch of territory seized from ISIS has been … recaptured by them.”
According to Mattis, a great deal of that success has been as a result of small changes in policy brought about by President Trump. After a review of the ongoing effort against ISIS in January, the president permitted a delegation of authority to lower command levels as well as a shift in strategy away from pushing ISIS out of controlled territory and toward “surrounding the enemy in their strongholds, so we can annihilate ISIS,” Mattis said.