Trump's son-in-law in Iraq

  • 05/04/2017
President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner in Iraq
President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner could influence Mr Trump's views on Iraq. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has travelled with the top US general to an Iraqi base 16km from Mosul, voicing hope the city's eventual recapture from Islamic State would be "a victory for the world".

The trip has demonstrated the far-reaching portfolio of Mr Kushner, 36, who is part of Mr Trump's innermost circle. His views on Iraq could shape Mr Trump's own opinions.

On Wednesday (local time), Mr Kushner was on the second day of a trip to Iraq as the guest of Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mosul is the largest city to have been held by Islamic State, and winning it back would largely destroy the Iraqi part of the group's "caliphate", proclaimed from a Mosul mosque in 2014.

Although Mr Trump campaigned on defeating Islamic State, he has not yet announced any major changes to war strategy.

The Mosul battle, the biggest in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, has been under way since October, with 100,000 Iraqi troops, Kurdish fighters and Shi'ite militiamen seeking to drive out the militants with the support of US-led air strikes.

Speaking after lengthy battlefield reports from two Iraqi generals, Mr Kushner sounded upbeat about the campaign and said the partnership between US and Iraqi troops was "very impressive".

Iraqi security forces are engaged in fierce, house-to-house fighting in Mosul. Nearly 290,000 people have fled the city to escape the fighting, according to the United Nations, and it has had a heavy toll on civilians trapped in the city.

The advance has slowed since March 17, when scores of people sheltering from air strikes were killed in a blast.

The United States has acknowledged it may have played a part in the incident but also said Islamic State may be to blame.