White House officials are drafting a presidential directive from President Trump that calls on his newly appointed defense secretary to take a more aggressive approach to attacking ISIS fighters in Syria.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump is expected to make his first visit to the Pentagon Friday and will call on Secretary James Mattis to present new options within 30 days.
The report said the options may include expanding the use of Special Forces. Trump told ABC on Wednesday that he is for safe zones in Syria.
Speaking about the terrorist group ISIS in an interview Thursday, President Donald Trump called the group’s fighters “sneaky, dirty rats.”
“We have evil that lurks around the corner without the uniforms,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “Ours is harder because the people we’re going against they don’t wear uniforms. They’re sneaky, dirty rats and they blow people up in a shopping center and they blow people up in a church.”
Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, said he has not received any change to his orders in prosecuting the ISIS war in Iraq and Syria. When asked if the military could do more to stop the terrorists, he responded, “Our role is where it needs to be right now.”
Martin said there was a “significantly higher” operational tempo in the fight for the terror group’s Iraq stronghold of Mosul. However, it started late last year when Iraqi forces supported by U.S. airpower started pushing ISIS out of many of their fortifications in the city, after a new offensive was launched. The operation to retake Mosul started more than three months ago.
Pentagon officials, earlier this week, told Fox News it was still too early for Mattis, known as “Mad Dog” to recommend any changes to the ISIS fight as he gets ramped up in his new role.
The military’s airtrike campaign was operating under standard orders from the Obama administration, Martin said.