Former Navy SEAL says US strategy to defeat ISIS could work in long term

Former Navy SEAL Ephraim Mattos said in an interview that aired Wednesday on "Rising" on Hill.TV that he agrees with the current U.S. strategy aimed at defeating an insurgency led by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq, and that the plan could work in the long term.

"I personally support our current policy of having small, special operation units in the area to sort of advise and assist," Mattos, who was a combat medic during the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS in 2017, told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton earlier this month. 

"Not be directly involved in the front lines fighting, but [to] take a step back, and allow the Iraqis to do it. I think that that was a very, very good policy on our end," he continued. 

The terror organization controlled large portions of Syria and Iraq in 2014, however, U.S. and Iraqi-led coalition forces managed to reduce the amount of ISIS-controlled territory drastically. 

ISIS currently controls just 1 percent of the territory it used to control, and the militants have resorted to insurgent methods including bombings and kidnappings in an effort to retain what power they have. 

"We could have reinvaded and put tons of boots on the ground, but that's not going to fix the problem long-term. So I personally agree with, again, sending in the small advisory, special operations teams, who call in airstrikes, give sniper support, and advise and assist," Mattos said. 

Mattos is promoting his new book, "City of Death: Humanitarian Warriors in the Battle of Mosul." 

— Julia Manchester