The top U.S. military leader has met in Irbil with Masud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, to discuss the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.
The visit by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, came during a previously unannounced visit to Iraq that began on November 15 and also included talks in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Dempsey's spokesman said the main purpose of the visit was “to get a firsthand look at the situation in Iraq, receive briefings, and get better sense of how the campaign is progressing” against IS militants.
On November 13, Dempsey told the U.S. Congress the Pentagon would consider dispatching a modest number of U.S. troops to fight alongside Iraqi forces against IS militants.
President Barack Obama previously said U.S. troops would serve only as advisers in Iraq and not take on a combat role.