Pen­tagon chief in Ir­bil for closer as­sess­ment of bat­tle

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

U.S. De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter vis­ited Ir­bil on Sun­day for a closer as­sess­ment of the fight against the Is­lamic State group in north­ern Iraq and to hear from Kur­dish lead­ers whose forces launched a new of­fen­sive in the op­er­a­tion to wrest Mo­sul from the mil­i­tants.

Carter met with Kur­dish leader Ma­soud Barzani, as well as U.S. ser­vice mem­bers, who are not far from the bat­tle. The Pen­tagon chief said Barzani re­ported some good news about pesh­merga gains against IS in Bashiqa, about 15 miles north­east of Mo­sul.

Carter wants to see mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions iso­late IS fight­ers in Raqqa, Syria, be­gin­ning “as soon as pos­si­ble.” He said there will be si­mul­ta­ne­ous op­er­a­tions in Mo­sul and Raqqa, and that the United States would co­or­di­nate in Raqqa with its part­ners.

Dur­ing the meet­ing with Barzani, Carter praised the ef­forts of the Kur­dish forces, known as pesh­merga, and ac­knowl­edged their bat­tle losses.

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