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Pentagon’s armed drones flying over Baghdad :Report

The Pentagon has reportedly started operating armed drones over Iraqi capital Baghdad, as the Iraqi army is fighting against a massive insurgency launched by radical Takfiri militants in north of the country.

AL-ALAM : On Friday, the high-ranking official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, confirmed to CNN that the military began flying armed drones over Baghdad during the past 24 hours.

Earlier, US officials had said that the military was using unarmed drones in Iraq to gather intelligence.

The official said the drones over Baghdad are providing additional protection for 180 US “military advisers” in the area.

He said the drones will not target the militants of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

The militants have taken control of some key northern Iraqi cities including Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, and Tikrit, the birthplace of former Baathist dictator Saddam Hussein.

The extremists, who have posted pictures of their atrocious acts against Iraqi citizens online, have vowed to continue their offensive towards Baghdad.

The Pentagon has begun deploying special operations troops in Iraq with a purported aim to assist Iraqis to fight the militants. But US officials are calling them military advisers.

On June 13, US President Barack Obama said the troubles in Iraq were spilling over from Syria, adding that he was reviewing a range of options to respond to the crisis.

"Over the last several days, we've seen significant gains made by ISIL, a terrorist organization that operates in both Iraq and in Syria,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. Over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by the foreign-backed militants.

According to reports, the US and its regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- have supported the militants operating inside Syria.

And now Obama has requested $500 million from Congress to train and arm militants in Syria.

“While we continue to believe that there is no military solution to this crisis and that the United States should not put American troops into combat in Syria, this request marks another step toward helping the Syrian people,” Caitlin Hayden, the national security spokeswoman, said in a statement issued on Thursday.

If approved, the program would supplement a covert train-and-assistance program run by US intelligence agencies.

Date Publish: 06/28/2014
Time Publish: 07:04:58