World Bulletin / News Desk
For the first time the U.S.-led coalition has begun to provide direct support to Iraqi troops in the fight for the Iraqi city of Tikrit.
"Operations to support Iraqi Security Forces in Tikrit have commenced after a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi," according to the task force coordinating the coalition against ISIL.
The coalition is now providing direct support to Iraqi forces including "airstrikes, airborne intelligence capabilities, and advise-assist support," read a statement issued by the task force.
The Iraqi operation has so far relied on Iranian guidance.
Iraqi troops launched an offensive earlier this month against ISIL members to recapture Tikrit. They were accompanied with Shia militia and Sunni tribal forces.
Reports and pictures surfaced that showed an Iranian commander coordinating the offensive in Tikrit on the front lines with Shiite militias.
The Iranian role in the operation has been known and U.S. officials have said the Iraqi government did not ask for military support at the start of the operation.
But after making an initial rapid advance toward Tikrit, the offensive stagnated amid high casualties, and Iraqi military commanders began to publicly ask for U.S. support.Last Mod: 26 Mart 2015, 11:02