Iraq focuses on regaining lost territory - Tucson News Now

Iraq focuses on regaining lost territory

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ISIS terrorists have declared an Islamic State encompassing parts of northern Syria and Iraq. (Source: CBS) ISIS terrorists have declared an Islamic State encompassing parts of northern Syria and Iraq. (Source: CBS)

(CBS) - The United States says it is still assessing the growing crisis in Iraq. Iraqi leaders are trying to hold the country together as Sunni extremists taking over parts of the north and west have declared an Islamic State.

The leader of the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is urging Muslims everywhere to help his fighters build an Islamic state.

In a 19-minute recording, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi instructed Muslims to "take up arms, take up arms and fight. Your brothers all over the world are waiting for your rescue," he said.

Iraq's government is focused on regaining territory lost to ISIS after weeks of fighting.

President Obama has authorized additional troops to the region equipped with attack helicopters and drones to protect the airport and the U.S. embassy in Iraq's capital. That brings the total number of troops deployed to Baghdad to 750.

Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Martin Dempsey says they'll help to determine whether the country's security forces can hold together.

"When we have that assessment in hand, I think we'll make some decisions about whether there's other kinds of support that we could provide," Dempsey said.

But Iraqi leaders say their country needs more U.S. help, including airstrikes.

"The situation in Iraq is dire. The integrity of the state and therefore the stability of the region is in question," said Lukman Faily, Iraq's ambassador to the U.S.

The U.S. is calling for Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a more inclusive government to help calm the tension. But on Tuesday when parliament met to take the first steps, Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers walked out.

Copyright 2014 CBS. All rights reserved.

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