US Defense Secretary arrives in Iraq for Mosul talks

– Carter will hold talks in Iraq on the progress of the anti-Daesh operation in Mosul
– U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is in Iraq on Saturday for an unscheduled visit to assess the progress of an ongoing operation to retake the northern city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists, reported Anadolu Agency.

Carter will hold talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on the progress of the Mosul operation, an Iraqi Foreign Ministry source said on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak to media.

Last week, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, launched a much-anticipated offensive to retake Mosul, which was overrun by Daesh in 2014.

On Friday, Carter said U.S. and Turkey have reached “an agreement in principle” to include Ankara in the anti-Daesh offensive in Mosul.

Turkey should “appropriately have a role in the counter-ISIL campaign in both Syria and Iraq,” American media quoted Carter as saying while using an alternative name for Daesh, following his meetings with Turkish leaders in Ankara.

“I’m pretty confident — on the basis of all the conversations we’ve had — that we’ll be able to work through those practicalities in a way that takes care of the sensitivities of all of the parties,” he said.

Daesh has lost numerous villages on Mosul’s outskirts since the operation started, as the Iraqi army and its allies advance on the city along multiple axes.