Iraq calls on UN Security Council for military aid
Iraq's ambassador to France called on the UN Security Council to approve extra military aid for Baghdad, including air and drone support, after sunni insurgents seized control over Mosul and Tikrit yesterday and appeared to be marching towards Baghdad.
"We need equipment, extra aviation and drones," Fareed Yasseen said when asked on France Inter radio what Iraq wanted from the Council.
"It must support Iraq because what is happening is not just a threat for Iraq but the entire region."
Sunni rebels from an al Qaeda splinter group overran the Iraqi city of Tikrit yesterday and closed in on the biggest oil refinery in the country at Baiji, making further gains in a rapid military advance against the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad.
The militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, also hold the northern city of Mosul, advancing their aim of creating a Sunni Caliphate straddling the border between Iraq and Syria.
Yasseen said as far as he knew the Iraqi government had not yet asked the United States to launch air strikes on Islamist militants who appeared to be marching towards Baghdad.
He said it appeared the Islamist advance had been stalled and Iraqi special forces were now stabilising the situation north of the capital. "What I have heard is their advance has been stopped. Special forces have been deployed and are playing their role. They have secured Samarra and the big Baiji refinery. These two regions are stabilised."
BAIJI OIL REFINERY SECURED
Iraq's biggest oil refinery at Baiji remained under government control today after Sunni rebels' offensive, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said.
"Baiji refinery is totally secured by the special forces and operating normally now," an official at the refinery said.
ISIL militants advanced into the oil refinery town of Baiji yesterday, setting the court house and police station on fire.