LONDON (CBSMiami) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited soldiers and military commanders in Iraq Monday as the battle to push ISIS out of Mosul entered a second day.
Iraqi forces have intensified their fight to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS. Back by U.S.-led coalition forces, they unleashed heavy ground and air assaults in the western part of the city Monday and set their sights on the airport. Over the weekend, Iraqi forces recaptured villages from ISIS fighters.
“The Iraqi army continues to surge against the enemy on the west side of Mosul,” said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Mattis made an unannounced visit to military leaders in Baghdad as the Pentagon weighed options to speed up the fight against ISIS.
“We’re gonna continue to go after them until we destroy them,” said Mattis.
The four month-long fight for Mosul has left about 700-thousand civilians trapped. Video from a weekend coalition airstrike shows many children among the dead and injured.
Before touching down in Baghdad, Mattis answered questions that may reassure Iraqis. He confirmed the U.S. is “not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” despite early suggestions from President Trump.
Under a deadline from President Trump, Secretary of State Mattis has one week left to develop a strategy to speed up the fight and defeat of ISIS.p.