Iraqi Government Forces Battle ISIS In Tikrit

The Iraqi government is making a strong push to fight back against ISIS militants in the city of Tikrit.

Iraqi Government Forces Battle ISIS In Tikrit

As ISIS continues its violent campaign through Iraq, the Iraqi government is now making its strongest attempt yet to fight back. 

"Iraqi troops backed by helicopters and tanks have resumed their assault on the northern city of Tikrit. Earlier they were bitten the macro beaten back by Sunni fighters who overran the city earlier this month." ​(Via BBC

The Washington Post reports government ground troops backed by gunship helicopters stormed the rebel-held city of Tikrit three times before dawn Saturday.

But, reports of who's actually winning in Tikrit are conflicting.  

ABC Australia reports government forces reclaimed the city, which would be a huge win given Tikrit's close proximity to the capital, Baghdad.

And Russia's RT also gave government forces the upperhand as of late Saturday. Though, reporter Richard Engel of MSNBC disagrees.  

"The Iraqi government has claimed that it has liberated all of Tikrit. That doesn't seem to be the case. ... It does seem, however, that the militants from ISIS have pulled back to another section of Tikrit. They haven't left the city entirely." (Via MSNBC

And the BBC echoes that, saying government troops had a hard time trying to take back Tikrit due to "the large number of improvised explosive devices laid on the approaches to the city."

The ​Sunni rebels known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took control of Tikrit on June 11.

The U.S. is aiding the Iraqi government by sending 300 military advisors over, though President Obama said U.S. troops will not be getting involved in the fighting. (Via The White House)

Russia and Belarus are also aiding the Iraqi government, sending fighter jets to them. Iraq's government reportedly tried to buy F-16's from the U.S., but several delays in getting the planes prompted them to seek out help from the world's second-biggest weapons exporter, Russia. (Via  PressTV

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has faced increased pressure to step down since the beginning of this fighting, though he's not showing any intention of giving in.