Secretary of Defense James Mattis touted the rapid success of the U.S.-backed military campaign against the Islamic State to reporters en-route to Egypt Saturday.

“The enemy is collapsing. In many cases, faster than many people in the media forecasted,” Mattis declared. “You know, I always stayed away from timelines for this very reason. It’s usually slower or faster than any timeline.”

Mattis has consistently been reluctant to put a timeline on the U.S. military presence in Syria, but highlighted the recent withdrawal of approximately 400 Marines from the country after successful operations against ISIS. The 400 Marines are being sent back to the U.S. after supporting the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in their military campaign against ISIS.

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