(AA) — Following the re-capture of the oil rich Iraqi city of Baiji, the U.S. has reinforced Iraqi forces there as Daesh continues to try to regain control of the northern city, the top U.S. military official said Thursday.
“We’ve been working with them. We’ve conducted 26 airstrikes since the fifth of May. We’ve been working with — we call it — a mobile training team in Baghdad Airport to assist them in rigging airdrops,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He said the training team recently conducted an airdrop to resupply forces in Baiji with 18 of 18 pallets successfully landing on their intended targets.
The top general’s comments came during a briefing at the Pentagon.
He said Iraqi forces in Baiji have been under pressure because they have lost control of the area and some of the networks of roads that leads to the northern city were destroyed by Daesh through IEDs – crude bombs commonly used for blowing up roads and bridges.
Dempsey acknowledged that Baiji is a critical component of Iraq’s oil infrastructure that sits on corridors running from Baghdad to Kirkuk and Mosul.
The oil rich Iraqi city was cleared off Daesh last November but it fell to the militant group early this year.
It was then liberated in late April by Iraqi forces in cooperation with a so-called U.S-led coalition fighting the militants, where many of the countries in the coalition have quietly fallen away from the alliance.