U.S. defense chief James Mattis visits Baghdad on official visit

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DUSHANBE--. The U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has on Monday arrived in Baghdad on an official visit, Xinhua news agency reports citing the Iraqi state television.

According to Iraqi television, Mattis' visit came at a time when Iraqi forces are trying to clear Islamic State (IS, banned in Tajikistan) militants from its major stronghold in the western side of Mosul.

Mattis is expected to meet with top Iraqi officials and military commanders to discuss bilateral relations and the offensive against the IS group in Mosul, state-run Iraqiya channel said without giving further details.

Hundreds of U.S. 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 U.S.-led international coalition has also been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan