Smoke rises from burning shops in Tikrit April 2, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
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The United States is closely monitoring Iraqi forces in Tikrit amid allegations of human rights abuses committed by Baghdad's troops and allied fighters in an assault to retake the city, a U.S. military official said Thursday.The United States agreed to provide air power to back up the assault on ISIS in Tikrit after the Iraqi government assured Washington it had full control over all forces involved in the operation.The nearby Baiji refinery was recaptured by Iraqi forces last year but Baghdad still needs to dislodge the ISIS extremists from the town and surrounding areas, the official said.A U.S. defense official had predicted in February that an Iraqi assault in Mosul could come as soon as April or May but top Pentagon officials later backed away from that forecast.
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