Carter in Iraq to bolster support in war on ISIL
Iran Press TV
Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:10PM
US Defense Secretary Ashton carter has made a surprise visit to Iraq in an effort to win the Baghdad government's support for escalating the war against Daesh (ISIL).
Carter arrived in the capital city of Baghdad on Wednesday and was expected to meet with Iraqi officials to discuss expanding joint military operations against the terror group.
Ahead of leaving for the Arab country as part of a Middle East tour, Carter said that he will be speaking to US military commanders in the region to 'get their latest reading on the battlefield situation and also very importantly their thinking about ways that we can continue to accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIL.'
According to a statement by the US Defense Department, Carter is directed by President Barack Obama to visit the region and ask for more military support from coalition partners and also from US forces in the region.
"[Obama] is asking all of us … throughout the government to do more," Carter said Tuesday in Turkey's Incirlik airbase.
Carter explained that he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford as well as senior US military commanders will continue to design new tactics for attacking Daesh.
The visit follows the Pentagon chief's testimony before a Senate committee last week, in which he said the US was ready to assist the Iraqi army with more equipment and personnel in the fight against Daesh, particularly in the battle to completely retake the key city of Ramadi, which fell to the group in May.
'The United States is prepared to assist the Iraqi army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisers," Carter chief told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
About 3,500 US troops are currently "advising and assisting" Iraqi forces in the fight against Daesh.
Speaking to reporters at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels early in October, Secretary of State John Kerry echoed Obama and Carter, saying that Washington has called on other members of the 28-nation security alliance to assign special operations units in order to provide police training, ammunition and equipment to the fight against Daesh.
The US and its allies have been carrying out airstrikes purportedly against ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria since late last year.
Daesh terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control parts of Syria and Iraq.
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