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US makes proposal to Russia for managing Syria battlefield

20 May 2017

"Whenever something odd happens it is the stereotype way of the United States and the hostile forces that kick off noisy anti-DPRK campaign deliberately linking with DPRK", he said.

While Dunford said military coordination was prohibited by USA law, he said expanded communications would be helpful as the areas where US troops and aircraft operate become "increasingly complex and constrained".

McGurk said the State and Treasury departments are also working with allies to more rigorously track foreign fighters and investigate ISIS' currency-sharing methods.

He explained that by "taking the time up front to surround these locations, instead of simply shoving them from one to another" coalition forces are able to "carry out the annihilation campaign so we don't simply transplant this problem from one location to another".

"Just as an aside, in addition to the competence that they've demonstrated Mosul, and the sacrifice, the one thing I've seen over time, in the 15 months I've been back and forth visiting in Iraq, in this particular assignment, is the confidence of the Iraqi leadership", Dunford said.

Speaking alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk, Mattis noted that commanders have been given greater authority to move quickly in the fight without first seeking approval from Washington.

Dunford also credited Trump with making the decision to arm the Syrian Kurds and allowing USA advisers to be deployed at the battalion level, which he said has been particularly effective in the fight for Mosul, which he said had led to about 980 Iraqi forces killed and over 6,000 wounded. The general said at its peak there were about 1,500 foreign fighters crossing that border each month.

But he also said the strategy would prevent ISIS foreign fighters from returning home and carrying out attacks on the USA and its allies.

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"And, I think, perhaps most importantly, we've undermined the credibility of their narrative that there is a physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria", Dunford said.

The other change could lead to a higher number of casualties among fighters.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama had planned to reduce the current number of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and withdraw all troops by the end of 2016 when his presidency came to an end.

American forces would support a group of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces driving southeast along the Euphrates from Raqqa toward Deir el-Zour, said the officials, who weren't authorized to speak publicly on the military details and demanded anonymity.

McGurk added that ISIS's propaganda output is also down significantly.

Asked whether the proposal to Russian Federation would address the problem of a Syrian army presence in Deir el-Zour, Dunford said, "It will".

Mattis acknowledged that, although USA forces don't "close in" on the enemy with local forces, having them closer to the battlefield meant greater risk.

Much fighting remains to fully expel IS from Mosul in northern Iraq, and the battle for the extremists' self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria, has barely begun. The fight has since grown to include thousands of USA troops on the ground in the two countries as advisers.

US makes proposal to Russia for managing Syria battlefield