President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner visited Baghdad Monday with the US's top military officer, meeting Iraq's premier to discuss the fight against the Islamic State group.
Kushner is traveling with Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Gen. Dunford told reporters en route to Iraq the invitation extended to the White House officials, which was only revealed Sunday, was to provide the White House "first-hand and unfiltered" assessment of the USA -led campaign against Islamic State.
Dunford's spokesman, navy Captain Greg Hicks, said Kushner was travelling on behalf of Trump to express the president's support and commitment to Iraq's government and USA personnel helping combat ISIS.
Kushner's wife Ivanka, the 35-year-old first daughter, also plays a key role in advising her father.
Speaking after lengthy battlefield reports from two Iraqi generals, Kushner sounded upbeat about the campaign and said the partnership between US and Iraqi troops was "very impressive". The trip has raised some eyebrows because Mr. Kushner, who met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi two weeks ago on his trip to Washington, is traveling to Baghdad before Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson makes the same trip.
"The delegation affirmed its support to Iraq in the war on terror", Abadi's office said in a statement.
His visit marks an early foray for the Trump administration into the situation in Iraq and came just two weeks after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was assured by the president the US will accelerate its support for his country's struggle against the Islamic State group.
Kushner voiced hope the city's eventual recapture from Islamic State would be "a victory for the world".
Almost 290,000 people have fled the city to escape the fighting, according to the UN.
Influential Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr has previously called on Iraq's government to order the withdrawal of United States and allied forces after the battle of Mosul is over.
"It's not our judgment that the Iraqis will be self sustaining and self sufficient in the wake of Mosul".
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey has been incensed by USA support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, seen by the US military as a reliable partner but by Turkey as a hostile force with deep links to Kurdish PKK militants who have waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.