“To help locals organize a push on Mosul”

“U.S. forces will move advisers and other staff to an Iraqi airfield recaptured from Islamic State to help locals organize a push on Mosul, the militants’ largest stronghold, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said before arriving in Baghdad on Monday. Iraqi government forces said on Saturday they took back control of Qayara airbase, about 60 km (40 miles) from the northern city, backed by air cover from a U.S.-led military coalition. “The seizure of the Qayara West airfield … will be followed. Its purpose is to create a logistics hub there, so there will be U.S. logistics support,” Carter told reporters. The airfield is “one of the hubs from which … Iraqi security forces, accompanied and advised by us as needed, will complete the southern-most envelopment of Mosul,” he added. The recapture of Mosul, on major supply roads running further north to the borders of Syria and Turkey, would be a major boost for the Iraqi government and U.S. plans to weaken the group which has launched and inspired attacks in the West.

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