The U.S. military will fight Islamic State in Syria “as long as they want to fight,” Defense Secretary Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis said on Monday, describing a longer-term role for U.S. troops long after the insurgents lose all of the territory they control, reports Reuters.
“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, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon about the future of U.S. operations in Syria.
He also stressed the importance of longer-term peace efforts, suggesting U.S. forces aimed to help set the conditions of a diplomatic solution in Syria, now in its seventh year of civil war.
“We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction,” he added.
The Reuters story also hinted at what is likely the real reason for the US presence in Syria despite ISIS pretty much eliminated:
One key aim for Washington is to limit Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq, which expanded during the war with Islamic State.-RW