US reassures support to Iraq in anti-IS war

Baghdad, Feb 21 (IANS) US Defense Secretary James Mattis made a visit to Baghdad to reassure support to Iraqi forces which are fighting to drive out the Islamic State (IS) group from its major stronghold in Mosul.

A statement by the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he held a meeting with Mattis and the two “discussed boosting relations between the two countries in the military and security fields, in addition to the war on IS group to liberate the right bank (western side) of Mosul”, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

Abadi also asserted on the importance of international support for Iraq in its war against terrorism,” the statement said.

Mattis reiterated his country’s “full support to Iraq in its war against terrorism, pointing out that his visit was aimed at supporting Iraq and to emphasis his country’s attitude to continue the good relations and support to Iraq after (defeat of) Daesh,” according to the statement.

Earlier in the day, Mattis arrived in Baghdad in his first trip to Iraq as Pentagon chief to discuss the campaign against IS group in the western side of Mosul.

Hundreds of US troops are already in Iraq, serving as trainers and advisers, in an attempt to help the country win the battle against IS militants in Mosul.

A US-led international coalition has also been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

–IANS

pgh/

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