US defence secretary arrives in Iraq for Mosul talks

US defence secretary arrives in Iraq for Mosul talks
Ash Carter may discuss raising US troop numbers in Iraq by around 2,000, as coalition forces look to end the battle for Mosul by early January.
1 min read
11 December, 2016
Ash Carter hopes to end the battle for Mosul before Donald Trump takes office [Getty]

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has arrived in Baghdad for discussions about the fight against the Islamic State group militants in Mosul, the Pentagon said Sunday.

"Carter arrived in Baghdad this morning and will meet with US commanders in Iraq to discuss the progress of the battles in Mosul, after meeting with Iraqi PM and leaders," a high-level source told The New Arab.

Carter will also "thank US, coalition, and Iraqi troops engaged in the counter-ISIL [IS] campaign, survey key locations directly supporting the battle for Mosul, and discuss the next steps in the fight," a Pentagon statement said.

Last week, Carter claimed that the battle for Mosul could be over before US president-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. Such a feat, however, would require a huge step-up in the coalition's current progress.

Iraq's army, backed by loyalist militias and a US-led coalition have been fighting to unseat the IS group from their Iraqi 'capital' of Mosul for eight weeks. Around a quarter of the city has already been recaptured by the army, however militants are puting up stiff resistance in the battle for one of the last major strongholds.