Thursday 27 January 2022 - 9:34:16 pm

US Defence Secretary arrives in Iraq for unannounced visit to meet Iraqi leaders

BAGHDAD, 22nd August, 2017 (WAM) -- US Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis, arrived in Iraq on Tuesday, just days after the start of an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar, to speak with Iraqi leaders about the next steps in the fight against Daesh, Reuters has reported.

Mattis has warned that the end of the militant group is far from close. Iraqi security forces launched an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar on Sunday, their latest objective in the US-backed campaign to defeat Daesh militants, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.

A long-time stronghold of hardline insurgents, Tal Afar, 80 km (50 miles) west of Mosul in Iraq's far north, has experienced cycles of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, Reuters added.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Chris Moran