Carter in Irbil for up-close account of Mosul fight
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Irbil on Sunday for a closer assessment of the fight against the Islamic State group in northern Iraq and to hear from Kurdish leaders whose forces launched a new offensive in the operation to wrest Mosul from the militants' control. 

Carter met with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, as well as U.S. service members who are not far from the battle.

The Pentagon chief praised the efforts of the Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, and acknowledged their battle losses.
 
They fight extremely well. But because they're fighting hard, they suffer ... casualties," said Carter, who spent Saturday in Baghdad getting updates from his military leadership and meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The U.S. is prepared to provide additional support for the fight if requested by Iraq and U.S. commanders, Carter said in the capital.

Peshmerga Brig. Gen. Halgord Hekmet, a spokesman for the Kurdish forces, told reporters that 25 of their troops have been killed since the battle to retake Mosul began and a "large number" had been wounded. Speaking through an interpreter, he said the peshmerga have had good coalition air support, but could use more military resources, especially armored vehicles.
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