Iraq's counterterrorism forces are increasingly relying on air power in their battle to take full control of a key tow in the sprawling western Anbar desert from Islamic State militants.

Gen. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi, who leads the elite troops, says his men control most of Hit but that IS fighters are still hunkered down in far-flung areas of the town from where they are putting up heavy resistance.

Al-Asadi says that late into Wednesday night, Iraqi commanders were calling in coordinates to coalition forces at the nearby Taqaddam air base.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Hit, a small Euphrates River town, over six weeks ago and have slowly been securing one after another part of town over the past two weeks in order to minimize civilian casualties.