US defense secretary arrives in Erbil

– Carter arrived in Iraq on Saturday for assessing progress of anti-Daesh operation in Mosul
– U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter arrived Sunday in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, from the Iraqi capital Baghdad, reported Anadolu Agency.

Carter landed down in Baghdad for an unscheduled visit on Saturday for talks with Iraqi officials on the progress of an ongoing operation to retake the northern city of Mosul from Daesh militants.

He discussed with Iraqi officials a Turkish proposal to take part in the anti-Daesh offensive in Mosul, but the proposal was rejected by Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

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

Turkey should “appropriately have a role in the counter-ISIL campaign in both Syria and Iraq,” he said, 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.

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.