Following up on yesterday’s report that the Pentagon is likely to recommend a significant deployment of US ground troops to Syria by month’s end, Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that the US, as well as NATO as an alliance, are preparing to escalate the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
Mattis played up the idea of a “sustained effort” to fight against ISIS, saying it was a fight that needs to be accelerated, and one he is confident all of NATO is committed to accelerating, though he said the fight would not be over quickly.
At the same time, Mattis said he was not ready to embrace a specific recommendation for a deployment of ground troops, and wanted to talk with other NATO members before deciding on specifics. He did say he wouldn’t rule out making such a recommendation, however.
This is largely in keeping with yesterday’s report, which suggested that final recommendations probably wouldn’t be made until some time around the end of the month. Mattis is in Brussels right now, giving him plenty of opportunity to discuss the deployment with other defense ministers.
President Trump is said to be eager to pick up the pace of the war, with an eye toward a quick victory against ISIS. This is almost certain to end up involving a significant deployment of ground troops, with the ambition of capturing Raqqa presumably involving a large number of US combat troops.