US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has arrived in Iraq from Turkey to assess the military campaign against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group amid a major military offensive to push them out of Mosul.
The Pentagon chief will meet with Iraqi leaders and military commanders on Saturday to discuss how the fight against Daesh is going.
This is Carter’s third trip to Iraq this year, and he has overseen the steady increase in the number of American troops deployed there.
The trip to Iraq follows a visit to Ankara where Carter met with Turkish leaders on Friday.
“It’s the beginning of the campaign. We do feel positively about how things have started off, particularly with the complicated nature of this operation,” a US official told reporters ahead of Carter’s trip to Baghdad.
The stop also came two days after the US suffered its first combat death in the Mosul offensive. The service member died of his wounds sustained in a roadside bomb blast.