Published: Sun, May 21, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Mattis on War in North Korea: 'Tragic on an Unbelievable Scale'

Mattis on War in North Korea: 'Tragic on an Unbelievable Scale'

Speaking at the Pentagon on Friday, Mattis announced that President Donald Trump had ordered DoD officials to conduct an "accelerated operation" against ISIS, focused on "encircling" ISIS fighters in the strongholds, before executing major ground and air strikes against militant targets, Reuters reports.

"West Mosul in accordance with tactics changed by President Trump is surrounded and our Iraqi partners are in a good fight", Mattis said.

Mattis said that the North is not listening to global warnings.

Dunford said the USA continues to work with Russia on "deconfliction" of their ground forces in Syria and "my impression is the Russians are as enthusiastic as we are".

Giving field commanders more flexibility means that the White House is no longer micro-managing tactical actions on the ground, Mattis said.

Mattis also described the need to focus on foreign fighters who, he said, were more unsafe because of their ability to slip back to their homes outside of ISIS territory.

Mattis also discussed the fight against ISIS saying the USA -led coalition was now encircling Islamic State fighters in their strongholds in a tactical shift before starting a military campaign to destroy them. The tactical shift moves to a campaign aimed at surrounding and then seizing ISIS' urban strongholds in order to prevent the escape of fighters.

The news comes as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Hong Seok-hyun, the newly elected President Moon Jae-in's Special Envoy to the United States.

Mattis emphasized that there has been no change to rules of engagement and "our own extraordinary efforts to avoid innocent civilian casualties". And swarms of foreign fighters sought to reach Raqqa, Syria, the terror group's self-styled capital.

Mattis declined to offer a timeframe for the campaign under the ramped-up strategy. The Pentagon refers to this area as the Middle Euphrates River Valley. More than 4 million people have been liberated and ISIS has been prevented from recapturing any territory it has lost.

At its peak, the flow of militants from other countries into Iraq and Syria was 1,500 fighters per month.

"We had a proposal that we're working on with the Russians right now", Dunford said.

Dunford said the US-led coalition, had reduced ISIS-held territory, limited their freedom of movement, destroyed a great deal of their leadership, reduced the flow of foreign fighters into and from the region and diminished their financial resources.

If the United States "persists in anti-DPRK sanctions without understanding its rival, the (Trump) administration will have to take full responsibility for the ensuing catastrophic consequences", he warned. At the same time, Iraqi government forces, also supported by USA advisers and airpower, would advance toward al-Qaim.

All three officials cautioned that the fight was far from over and that the US would continue to look for additional ways to accelerate the fight.

Like this: