Pentagon chief in Irbil for closer assessment 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.

Carter met with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, as well as U.S. service members, who are not far from the battle. The Pentagon chief said Barzani reported some good news about peshmerga gains against IS in Bashiqa, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Mosul.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told reporters that the information he has gathered suggests Barzani was correct and that...