Iraq has not asked for airstrikes in Tikrit: Pentagon
Iraq has not made a formal request to the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group to provide air support in the country`s offensive to retake Tikrit, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.
Washington: Iraq has not made a formal request to the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group to provide air support in the country`s offensive to retake Tikrit, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.
He spoke after one of the top Iraqi commanders for the offensive on Sunday called for the international coalition to provide air support to help swing the battle for the city.
The offensive to push back the Islamic State group (IS) from Tikrit began on March 2, and Iraqi forces have only recently reached the city limits where they have been stalled by bombs and entrenched fighters.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said he wasn`t aware that any airstrike requests had come through.
"I am not aware of any request that we`ve received through official channels to participate in operations around Tikrit," he said.
While some reports indicate that numerous Iraqi forces had entered the city, Warren said the government offensive remained mostly on the outskirts.
"They certainly have Tikrit surrounded. I`m sure there are areas and spots where they are inside the city limits but for the most part they are in the outskirts of Tikrit," he said.
Warren described the battle lines around Tikrit as "static."
The operation to take Tikrit, 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Baghdad, was launched by thousands of soldiers, police, Shiite militias and Sunni tribes.
The city is the capital of the Salaheddin province and the hometown of late-strongman Saddam Hussein.
It was seized by IS in June of 2014 as the radical group took control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Leading up to Wednesday, the international coalition against IS had launched 2,893 airstrikes, 1,631 in Iraq and 1,262 in Syria.
The US led 2,320 of the strikes, or about 80 percent.
Between Wednesday and Thursday the coalition conducted approximately 19 more strikes.