James Mattis, the newly appointed Secretary of Defense marked his first full day at the Pentagon by supervising 31 strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
On Saturday, Mattis arrived at the Pentagon with a smile for his initial full day of work, and for good reason, in view of the substantial bombardment ISIS forces received.
An assortment of bombers, fighters, and remotely piloted aircraft participated in the bombing run, which saw 25 strikes in Syria and six in Iraq. Two strikes smashed ISIS elements and artillery close to the town of Bab in Syria. In Raqqa, the terrorist group’s effective capital, ISIS forces took a heavy beating, as 22 strikes demolished 12 tactical units, nine fighting positions, two underground improvised explosive bomb factories and an ISIS headquarters. The final strike battered two ISIS oil wells in Deir ez Zour.
In Iraq, ISIS forces suffered multiple losses as well. An attack in the city of Rutbah wrecked a tactical unit and vehicle, two weapons reserves and a mortar. One more in Beiji left a unit and vehicle shattered. A strike in Kisik destroyed a tactical unit and building. Another in Tal Afar also destroyed a unit, truck and command node. The city of Mosul, which represents the terrorist group’s regional capital in Iraq, received two strikes, which destroyed three fighting positions, two units, a tank, and a car bomb factory.
President Donald Trump vowed during his campaign that he would demolish ISIS as swiftly as possible. On his first day in office, he said he would assemble his top generals and direct them to deliver a plan to destroy ISIS permanently within 30 days. Mattis would be expected to authorize whatever plan goes forward as the new head of the Pentagon. The ex-Marine general is a recognized critic of the Obama administration’s ISIS policy, having once ascribed to it as full of “half measures.”