A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United States military, along side its coalition partners, is preparing to expand its campaign against the the Islamic State in an operations designed to help Iraqi forces reclaim the city of Tikrit, the Daily Beast reported.
The United States will be providing intelligence and surveillance support for operations against Islamic State militants, the White House said on Wednesday.
This prospect marks an important shift in the war against ISIS. The Pentagon has been hesitant to supply Iraqi forces, who are fighting along side Iranian generals and tanks, with air support, insisting that it would not coordinate too closely with the Iranians.
Yet, after finding initial success in their effort to reclaim the city, Iraqi forces alongside Shi'ite militiamen have been forced to halt their advance because of deadly explosives laden throughout the city.
Until now, Iraqi forces had resisted the option to request assistance from the United States. However, as casualties rise, both sides have reconsidered their positions as they fight a common enemy.
Iraqi President Fouad Massoum on Wednesday said he expected the US-led coalition would soon carry out airstrikes. The Pentagon on Wednesday declined to comment on Massoum's prediction, but confirmed the United States had started intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights over Tikrit.
The Tikrit campaign was launched with a force of 20,000 Shiite militiamen, 3,000 Iraqi troops, and a bevy of Iranian troops, tanks, weapons and missile strikes, according to the Daily Beast.