US

US defense secretary arrives in Iraq to assess Mosul fight

  • FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday that as many as 200 more American troops are being sent to Syria to help Kurdish and Arab fighters capture the Islamic State group's key stronghold of Raqqa. Carter made the announcement Saturday at a security conference in Manama, Bahrain. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday that as many as 200 more American troops are being sent to Syria to help Kurdish and Arab fighters capture the Islamic State group's key stronghold of Raqqa. Carter made the announcement Saturday at a security conference in Manama, Bahrain. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • French soldiers shoot a canon toward Islamic State militant positions from a coalition forces military base in Qayara, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. An Iraqi commander says reinforcements have been sent to eastern Mosul after a major Islamic State counterattack drove troops back last week, further slowing a nearly two-month-old offensive to retake the city. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    French soldiers shoot a canon toward Islamic State militant positions from a coalition forces military base in Qayara, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. An Iraqi commander says reinforcements have been sent to eastern Mosul after a major Islamic State counterattack drove troops back last week, further slowing a nearly two-month-old offensive to retake the city. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A policeman secures houses as Iraqi federal police forces advance towards the Islamic State militant held city of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. An Iraqi commander says reinforcements have been sent to eastern Mosul after a major Islamic State counterattack drove troops back last week, further slowing a nearly two-month-old offensive to retake the city. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    A policeman secures houses as Iraqi federal police forces advance towards the Islamic State militant held city of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. An Iraqi commander says reinforcements have been sent to eastern Mosul after a major Islamic State counterattack drove troops back last week, further slowing a nearly two-month-old offensive to retake the city. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)  (The Associated Press)

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.