Pentagon plans to 'annihilate' IS fighters

Iraqi civilians walk through rubble as they flee fighting between Iraqi special forces and Islamic State militants in western Mosul Iraq. The United States is looking ahead toward a decisive battleground in its bid to destro

Amid Raqqa, Mosul fights, US prepares for IS endgame effort

Describing two tactical changes in the president's approach, Mattis was joined at the Pentagon this afternoon by Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition.

Also speaking at the Pentagon on Friday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, said strikes against Syrian government-backed fighters this week were a "force protection measure", and would not happen again if us forces are not threatened.

Mattis would also not address how long he expects US troops to remain a presence in Syria, adding, "that's not our intent".

Mattis called foreign fighters a "strategic threat" should they return home and said the annihilation effort would prevent the problem from being transplanted from one location to another. He also criticized recent ICBM tests conducted by the United States and annual joint U.S.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that it appeared the Russians had attempted to get the militia convoy to turn around, but was unable to do so.

Mattis also discussed the fight against ISIS saying the US -led coalition was now encircling Islamic State fighters in their strongholds in a tactical shift before starting a military campaign to destroy them.

Asked about Beijing and Moscow's support for the six previous rounds of United Nations sanctions, Kim said both countries are "close neighbors" who "understand our nuclear projection occurred through the USA continued nuclear threat and its hostile policy" toward North Korea.

President Donald Trump is looking to both China and Russian Federation, the two permanent members on the Security Council that have historically been most sympathetic to North Korea, to join the USA -backed campaign of diplomatic and economic pressure on the North to get it to denuclearize. "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". Those foreign fighters are a threat.

Much fighting remains to fully expel IS from Mosul in northern Iraq, and the battle for Raqqa has barely begun.

The general said the U.S.is looking for the Russians to work with the Syrian regime to further deconflict operations. They will be drawn from Deir el-Zour, which has come under increasing US aerial bombardment, to the western Iraqi city of al-Qaim.

While U.S. military advisers worked in concert with the Iraqi army in the Mosul fight, the Raqqa fight will be different.

American forces would support a group of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces driving southeast along the Euphrates from Raqqa toward Deir el-Zour, said the officials, who weren't authorized to speak publicly on the military details and demanded anonymity.

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

U.S. media reported earlier this month that U.S. President Donald Trump was close to decide on whether to send hundreds of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

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

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