Carter leads his final anti-IS conference amid uncertainty


LONDON (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is convening his final war-planning conference with core members of the anti-Islamic State coalition.

The session gets underway Thursday in London amid questions within the coalition about what Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House next month will mean for the future of the coalition.

Carter has arranged for the coalition representatives to receive an update from Gen. Joseph Votel on the battles to retake Mosul, the Islamic State’s key stronghold in Iraq, and Raqqa, the self-declared IS capital in Syria. As head of U.S. Central Command, Votel is the top officer overseeing the counter-IS campaign in Syria and Iraq.

They also will discuss doing more to train and equip local Iraqi and Syrian forces that will be needed to hold recaptured territory.