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Pentagon chief arrives in Europe amid Syrian, Afghan crises

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, pictured on August 28, 2015, arrived in Madrid, beginning a European tourUS Defence Secretary Ashton Carter arrived in Madrid on Sunday, beginning a European tour amid alarm over Russian bombardments in Syria and the refugee crisis sparked by the conflict. The five-day trip to Spain, Italy, Britain and a NATO ministerial summit in Brussels is intended to recognise the work of ally nations as they scramble to tackle the refugee crisis as well as respond to Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine. The tour comes at a fraught time for Carter, who started in the Pentagon’s top job in February and who faces pressure at home over Syria and a simmering scandal involving military officials allegedly cherry-picking intelligence.

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