U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, joined by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis, right, and Chief of Staff Eric Rosenbach, left, boards his plane at Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan July 23, 2015 en route to Iraq. REUTERS/Carolyn Kaster/Pool

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived on an unannounced visit on Friday to Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, whose forces have emerged as one of America’s strongest partners in the fight against Islamic State.

Carter was expected to meet the Kurdistan region’s President Massoud Barzani as well as U.S. forces.

His visit to Erbil came a day after the Pentagon chief traveled to Baghdad to meet Iraqi leaders as they advance plans to recapture the city of Ramadi from Islamic State militants.

Credit: reuters.com