Mattis: Military solution to NKorea would be 'tragic'

Syrian National flag hangs out of a damaged building at the mountain resort town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside Syria. The United States is looking ahead toward a decisive battleground in its bid to destroy the Isl

He said instead it was a decision made by Trump "for an accelerated campaign, for one that includes surrounding the enemy so they can't get out".

"There has been no change to our rules of engagement, and there has been no change to our continued extraordinary efforts to avoid innocent civilian casualties", he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) and Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford hold a press briefing on the campaign to defeat ISIS at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., May 19, 2017. "Over four million people have been liberated".

The U.S. sees that area, from Deir el-Zour down the Euphrates River Valley to al-Qaim on the Iraqi side of the border, as the next major battleground in the evolving coalition campaign to destroy the Islamic State group.

The rules of engagement governing USA forces in the region have also changed, allowing commanders on the ground more flexibility to move troops and engage with IS fighters without seeking clearance from military leaders.

He said the US' strategic approach was to cut the connectivity between ISIS affiliates and associates, specifically the foreign fighter flow, their illicit resources and their message.

East Mosul has fallen after tough fighting by the Iraqi Security Forces with USA and coalition support, he said, adding that since January it has been a bit normal with businesses reopening, cleanup underway and kids back in school.

While U.S. military advisers worked in concert with the Iraqi army in the Mosul fight, the Raqqa fight will be different.

McGurk said the coalition will attempt to use the same model in Raqqa with local leaders planning for "the day after ISIS".

Parents of freed Nigeria schoolgirls still wait to see them
Girls who escaped Boko Haram shortly after the 2014 mass kidnapping said some of their classmates had died from illness. More than 100 girls remain in Boko Haram custody and negotiations with the terror group continue, the government said.

"I'm confident that we've made progress in that regard over the last couple months".

Asked about Beijing and Moscow's support for the six previous rounds of United Nations sanctions, Kim said both countries are "close neighbours" who "understand our nuclear projection occurred through the USA continued nuclear threat and its hostile policy" toward North Korea. A proposal is also in the works to "deconflict" operations in Syria with Russian Federation.

Dunford did not say when the new channel opened, but the enhanced cooperation marked a stark change in tone on Russian Federation from just last month when Russian Federation threatened to cut the hotline after Trump ordered airstrikes against the Syrian regime, its ally, for a chemical weapons attack it carried out.

But the former Marine Corps general did not rule out military action, instead saying that the US would prefer diplomatic solutions. I won't share the details. Mattis emphasized the importance of the U.S. -Sweden bilateral relationship, and his desire for greater defense cooperation in the future, as laid out in the Statement of Intent signed past year.

"We are leading a comprehensive campaign", he said.

But, he said, "The lads know they're not part of a life insurance corporation; they're trained for this, and they go out and they do their job to the best they can".

Mattis told reporters those forces targeted by airstrikes were "Iranian-directed forces".

Former U.S. President Barack Obama had planned to reduce the current number of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and withdraw all troops by the end of 2016 when his presidency came to an end.

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