The first batch of Russian fighter jets arrives Baghdad to help Iraqi forces battle ISIL fighters in the country's north. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
A cargo plane delivered the first batch of Russian-built fighter jets at Baghdad airport on Saturday (June 28)
The planes will be used by Iraqi forces to battle ISIL fighters in the country's north.
During an interview with the BBC on Wednesday (June 25), Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said a deal, reported to be worth up to 500 million dollars, had been reached with Russia and Belarus to supply the government with fighter jets.
Iraqi government forces backed by helicopter gunships began an offensive on Saturday to retake the northern city of Tikrit from Sunni Islamist militants.
Iraq's million-strong army, trained and equipped by the United States, largely evaporated in the north after Sunni fighters led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant launched their assault with the capture of the north's biggest city Mosul on June 10.
But in recent days, government forces have been fighting back, relying on elite commandos flown in by helicopter to defend the country's biggest oil refinery at Baiji.
A successful operation to recapture territory inside Tikrit would deliver the most serious blow yet against an insurgency which for most of the past two weeks has seemed all but unstoppable in the Sunni heartland north and west of Baghdad.