Defense Secretary James Mattis said in an interview broadcast Sunday the U.S. is accelerating its military strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“The bottom line is we are going to move in an accelerated and reinforced manner, throw them on their back foot. We have already shifted from attrition tactics where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them,” Mattis said on CBS News's "Face the Nation."
Mattis said the U.S.’s goal is to prevent ISIS fighters from escaping strongholds in North Africa and the Middle East in order to prevent lone future attacks in western nations.
“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We're not going to allow them to do so. We're going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate,” he said.
“Attrition is where you keep pushing them out of the areas that they're in. And what we intend to do by surrounding them is to not allow them to fall back, thus, reinforcing themselves as they get smaller and smaller, making the fight tougher and tougher,” Mattis continued.
The Defense secretary’s comments come less than a week after ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England that killed 22 people.