US defense secretary arrives in Iraq to assess Mosul fight


BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has arrived in Baghdad to meet with American commanders and Iraqi leaders and to assess progress in the fight to retake the northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The unannounced visit on Sunday came as Iraqi security forces have been slowed in their nearly two-month-old offensive against IS, which has occupied Mosul for more than two years.

Carter flew into Baghdad aboard a military cargo plane. He was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as well as top U.S. and coalition commanders.

In Bahrain on Saturday, Carter announced he is sending another 200 troops to Syria to train and advise local fighters combatting IS. There were already 300 U.S. troops authorized for the Syria effort, and some 5,000 in Iraq.