The fight against Islamic State has shifted to "annihilation tactics" to stop potential terrorists who've flocked to places such as Iraq and Syria from returning to their home countries to wreak havoc, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday.
"We have already shifted from attrition tactics where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria," Mattis said on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa."
"We are going to squash the enemy's ability to give some indication that they're — that they have invulnerability, that they can exist, that they can send people off to Istanbul, to Belgium, to Great Britain and kill people with impunity," Mattis said.
Asked about the potential for greater civilian casualties from the stepped-up attacks, Mattis said such losses "are a fact of life."