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    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis addresses a news conference during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 16, 2017.

    Mattis: Trump Ordered Accelerated Campaign Against Daesh

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    US Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that US President Donald Trump ordered an accelerated campaign against the Daesh terrorist group.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — President Donald Trump stepped up the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh outlawed in Russia) after reviewing a report of the battle against the terror group from the Pentagon, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a press briefing on Friday.

    "President Trump directed the Department of Defense to lead all departments in a comprehensive review of the campaign. We submitted that report and after his review, he then ordered an accelerated campaign against ISIS [Islamic State]," Mattis stated.

    The US-led coalition against the Daesh has liberated over four million people from the group in Iraq and Syria, according to Mattis.

    "We have taken over 55 percent of ISIS [Islamic State] territory there, over four million people have been liberated, and not one inch of ISIS territory seized has been recaptured," Mattis told reporters.

    The US-led coalition has not changed its rules of engagement with respect to avoiding civilian casualties when fighting against the Daesh in Syria, Mattis said.

    "There has been no change to our continued extraordinary efforts to avoid innocent civilian casualties, despite needing to go in the populated areas to break ISIS hold in their self-described caliphate," Mattis stated.

    US Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the US-led coalition's military operation against the Daesh in Libya was greatly effective and led to the organization's loss of its controlled areas.

    "In Lybia, we struck a significant ISIS [Islamic State] presence in January of this year. Our attack against their concentrated strength was highly effective and ISIS does not own any major territory any longer there," Mattis stated.

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