U.S. Not Providing Air Support for Iraqi Push to Retake Tikrit From ISIS

No Request for U.S. Air Power from Iraqis

An Iraqi military spokesman told ABC News Monday that ISIS fighters were retreating from some areas in the province that had come under attack by Iraqi military forces. However, those claims could not be independently verified.

A U.S. official told ABC News that this appears to be more of a “tactical operation” and that Iraqi military elements involved do not appear to be well-coordinated.

"We were aware of the operation before it started,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters Monday. “But I’m not going to details about what degree of coordination was involved in this."

Another U.S. official said that the U.S. began monitoring Iraqi troop movements in the area last week, though it remains unclear how much advance information Iraq provided to American military officials.

Warren said U.S. and coalition aircraft are not providing airstrikes in support of the operation since Iraq did not request air support. A U.S. official told ABC News that the Iraqi Air Force and Army aviation are providing Iraqi troops with air cover for the operation.

Warren said the U.S. military mission in Iraq is to advise and assist Iraq's military in their fight against ISIS, but Iraq that decides the level of cooperation it wants.

A U.S. official said Monday there appears to be Iranian involvement in the planning and execution of the Iraqi operation.

Warren noted that Iran has a great interest in the fight in Iraq, but he would not speak to the level of Iranian involvement.

Separately, Jordanian aircraft have now begun conducting airstrikes inside Iraq. Until now Jordan and four other Arab countries participating in the air campaign against ISIS had only launched airstrikes inside Syria. The expansion of Jordanian airstrikes into Iraq reflects Jordan's push to do more militarily against ISIS following the group's burning death of a captured Jordanian pilot last month.