BAGHDAD -- Even with thousands of Iraqi fighters on the outskirts of Tikrit - progress against ISIS is slow. Iraqi forces claim they've cut supply routes to the militants, yet ISIS is still in control of the city.
In Baghdad Monday, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, urged patience in the fight against ISIS. But on board a French aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf on Sunday, Dempsey voiced his frustration with Iraqi forces.
"We've got trainers and advisers that are waiting for some of the Iraqi units to show up," Dempsey said. "And when they've shown up -- a handful of them -- they've shown up under-strength and sometimes without the proper equipment."
Raad Saleh Ateia and his wife Quraish are desperate for any sign of progress in Tikrit. They fled their home in the city just three days after ISIS captured it in June.
"Armed men from ISIS took our son Omar away," Quraish told us. "I chased after the car, and I was crying because I couldn't keep up."
Raad told us ISIS interrogated 20-year-old Omar, and accused him of drinking alcohol. The militants later released him - but Omar's still too frightened of ISIS to appear on camera.
"Do you think that Iraq will ever be free of ISIS?" I asked Quraish.
"God willing," she answered. "We want everyone to go home to their families."
General Dempsey said he saw no need for any more U.S. military advisers in Iraq. There are already more than 2,500 of them on the ground. And he also made it clear that a dramatic escalation in American-led airstrikes - or carpet bombing Iraq as he described it - would risk many more civilian casualties.