• Turnbull says Iraq PM al-Abadi gave him confidence about fight
  • Australian stops in Baghdad on way for maiden visit to U.S.

Iraqi forces are turning the corner in their fight against the Islamic State and victory is within sight, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in an e-mailed statement after a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart.

Turnbull stopped in Baghdad en route for his maiden visit to U.S. as Australian leader, and met Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Australian defense personnel serving as part of the coalition forces battling the Islamic State.

“The prime minister certainly gave us the impression of real, substantial confidence that they’re turning the corner in the battle,” Turnbull said in the statement. Al-Abadi filled him with “confidence” that victory against the Islamic State in Iraq was “within sight, within reach,” he said.

Turnbull reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the fight against the Islamic State. Australia, a key ally of the U.S., in 2014 deployed 400 air-force personnel and 200 special forces soldiers based in Iraq to join President Barack Obama’s coalition against Islamic State. A further 300 soldiers left in April 2015 to help train Iraqi troops based at Taji, northwest of Baghdad. It turned down a U.S. request to boost its military commitment in the region last week.

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