US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was unable to persuade either the Iraqi government or Kurdish leaders to allow the Turkish army a role in the Mosul operation, as vociferously demanded by President Tayyip Erdogan. In the last 48 hours, Carter met their leaders in Baghdad and the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that a Turkish expeditionary force of around 1,000 men has crossed into Iraq and is standing by near Bashiqua, north of Mosul. The force consists of elite troops, assault helicopters and artillery. Carter tried explaining, to no avail, that cutting Turkish troops into the battle for Mosul would open the way for their participation in an offensive against ISIS’ Syrian base at Raqqa, which he is seeking to launch alongside the Mosul operation.