Leaders of a key Iraqi region began asking U.S. ground troops to help hold off advances from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Sabah Al-Karhout, president of the Anbar Provincial Council, told CNN Saturday that the situation in the Western region is “very bad.” And Falleh al-Issawi, deputy head of the council, said the region was seeking immediate help from Iraq’s central government, as well as a plea for U.S. ground forces.
The Iraqi government has thus far resisted any attempt to bring U.S. troops back into Iraq, and the Iraqi government said it has not received an official request from Anbar on that front.
"If we receive any request, we will look into it and we will give our recommendation, but thus far we have not received any request," the office said in a statement.
CNN reported that ISIS troops have been making gains in the Anbar region for the last several weeks, despite targeted airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition. Reports suggested that Haditha, the last large city in Anbar not under ISIS control, had now been surrounded, and ISIS troops are estimated to control 80 percent of the province.
If ISIS succeeds in taking full control of Anbar, it will control territory that brings it close to the capital city of Baghdad. Iraqi troops and Anbar tribesmen fighting ISIS have threatened to abandon their efforts if the U.S. military does not intervene, according to al-Issawi.
Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelInterpreter who helped rescue Biden in 2008 escapes Afghanistan Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default Pentagon chiefs say debt default could risk national security MORE had warned Friday that the Anbar region was in danger, and a senior U.S. defense official told CNN Iraqi troops are “up against the wall” in the province.