Iran is reportedly flying unarmed surveillance drones over Iraq to aid the local government in countering the ongoing offensive by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.
Unnamed US military officials told The New York Times that Iran has established a special control centre at Rasheed Air Base in Baghdad to operate a small fleet of Ababil UAVs over the country.
Iran is also sending two plane loads of military supplies every day to aid Iraq.
A senior US official said the material is substantial and is ‘not necessarily heavy weaponry, but it’s not just light arms and ammunition’.
Support from Iran follows reports that Syria has carried out aerial strikes on ISIS insurgents near Iraq’s western borders, killing at least 50 civilians and injuring 132.
Syria and Iran have pledged their support to Iraq Government in fighting ISIS, which has taken control of several major cities in the recent weeks.
Tehran has reportedly deployed ten divisions of its army and its Quds Force soldiers along the border with full readiness to act if Baghdad or Shiite shrines are threatened.
In a clash of interests, support from Iran and Syria come at a time when the US has also sent its advisers to assist Iraq forces with intelligence inputs.
Iran, meanwhile, has denied reports that it is sending its military force to Iraq.
Iran Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said: "As the Iraqi ambassador to Tehran emphasized, none of Iranian military officials are in Iraq, and the claims concerning the presence of Iranian military forces in the country are not true."
Image: Iran is reportedly flying unarmed Ababil UAVs over Iraq. Photo: courtesy of Enstent.