Tikrit, Iraq – Iraqi forces had been fighting a hard battle against Islamic State forces on the ground outside the city of Tikrit for weeks. After continued struggle to uproot the rebels from the city, the Iraqi government formally asked for air support to help with the fight. By attacking key targets that were too fortified for the Iraqi ground forces to easily overtake, the battle to retake the city would be expedited. Pressure to uproot the ISIS forces has come from a sense of urgency to protect the sites of Iraq’s national treasures and ancient sites.
US-Led Airstrikes Target ISIS Forces In Tikrit
The US-led coalition flew missions over the city, dropping munitions on selected targets. After some of the successful airstrikes, Iraqi forces on the ground quickly moved in to assess the damages. These strikes should allow for the Iraqi forces to make significant advances across the city in a much shorter period of time than had been experienced so far. The pilots had to be selective in their missions so as not to cause extensive damage to non-militarized assets near some of ISIS’s positions.
So far the United States forces have been almost completely absent from the ground in Iraq. Despite having occupied Iraq for a number of years, and spending time training the Iraqi military a few years ago, the US military has been mostly providing only air support up to this time. On the ground, training and supplies have come largely from neighboring countries like Iran, who have a common interest in defeating the Islamic State forces. Iran has legitimate fears that the group’s violence could spill over into their borders, especially since the Islamic State has proven that they have a foot hold on either side of the country.
No exact timeline has been determined yet as to when the Iraqi forces are expected to fully retake the city of Tikrit, but the government is hopeful that progress will come much faster.
US-Led Airstrikes Target ISIS Forces In Tikrit.