The United States and NATO must accelerate the fight against ISIS, which has served as a “direct and immediate threat to Europe and to us all,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said during a ministerial meeting Thursday in Brussels. All nations need to focus on increasing their efforts against ISIS and its continued threat, he added. “This is not something that will be over with quickly, but we certainly intend to accelerate this fight,” Mattis said. “One of the reasons we’re here today is to lay this out to you.”
Mattis on Thursday left Europe for his first visit to the Middle East, where he is looking to get a better appreciation of the “situation.” This comment came after reports that the military is looking at the possibility of sending conventional ground forces inside Syria for the first time. While the US has for a while had special operations troops inside the country, this move would mark a sharp increase in the US mission in the region. A US defense official told CNN the decision is ultimately up to President Donald Trump, who is expecting a report from the Pentagon within weeks on how to defeat ISIS.