US' Mattis says coalition will encircle Islamic State fighters, before starting military campaign

US' Mattis says coalition will encircle Islamic State fighters, before starting military campaign

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday the U.S.-led coalition was now encircling Islamic State fighters in their strongholds in a tactical shift before starting a military campaign to destroy them.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis gestures during a press briefing on the campaign to defeat ISIS at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday the U.S.-led coalition was now encircling Islamic State fighters in their strongholds in a tactical shift before starting a military campaign to destroy them.

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 U.S. forces are not threatened.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and David Alexander; writing by Yara Bayoumy, editing by G Crosse)

Source: Reuters