Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. military will fight the Islamic State in Syria as long as they want to fight. While ISIS is losing ground and the forces backed by the U.S. and Russia are trying to take over the rest of the land that the terrorists hold, Mattis stated that the longer-term objective of the U.S. military is not allowing the return of an ISIS 2.0.
“The enemy hasn’t declared that they’re done with the area yet, so we’ll keep fighting as long as they want to fight,” Mattis said.
While speaking for the future operations of the U.S. in Syria, Mattis emphasized the importance of longer-term peace efforts. Defense Secretary said that the U.S. forces want to help conditions for a diplomatic solution to be set up in Syria.
“We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction,” he said. Mattis believes that the southwestern zone is functional and hopes for more areas which would allow the return of refugees to their homes.
“You keep broadening them. Try to (demilitarize) one area then (demilitarize) another and just keep it going, try to do the things that will allow people to return to their homes,” he stated.
Russia wants foreign forces to quit Syria. The presidents of Russia and U.S., Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump affirmed efforts to stabilize Syria. Turkey stated that the U.S. had 13 bases in Syria, while Russia had five. Official Washington is now worried that Iran will have dominance in Syria and Iraq once the Islamic State is defeated and it wants to limit Iranian influence.