Pentagon chief in Irbil for closer assessment of battle
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.