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Monday, March 02, 2015

Finally Iraq is fighting to retrieve ISIS captured Takrit

It's about time!  

If Iraq had defended the nation against the military advances of the evil Islamic State (a.k.a "ISIS), this story about regaining some of Takrit would't need to be on the BBCNews website.  (A map posted on BBCNews seems to show ISIS is more or less surrounded.)

"..current operation is crucial to any Iraqi plans to retake Mosul."

Iraq 'seizes districts from IS' in Tikrit advance

The BBC's James Robbins: "It's the biggest fightback yet against so-called Islamic State"

Iraqi government forces say they have retaken some districts around Tikrit in their fight to recapture the city from Islamic State (IS).

A force of about 30,000 troops and militia are said to be attacking on different fronts, backed by air strikes from Iraqi jets.

A commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards is taking part in the operation, a Shia militia commander told the BBC.

Tikrit, north of the capital Baghdad, fell to the evil IS militants last June.

Security sources told the BBC that pro-government troops had seized control of the two districts of al-Tin, near Tikrit university north-east of the city, and the district of al-Abeid, in the west.

Earlier, fighting was also reported in al-Dour, south-east of Tikrit, as well as in al-Alam, north of the city, and nearby Qadisiya.

There were few details of the operation but army and medical sources were quoted as saying that five soldiers and 11 militia fighters had been killed.

The Pentagon said that the US was not providing any air power in support of the operation.

A senior official told reporters: "This is Iraq, this is their country, their military, their fight against Isil (IS)."

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the start of the operation late on Sunday, as tens of thousands of troops and militia massed in the central town of Samarra.

Tikrit, in Salahuddin province, lies on the road to Mosul - Iraq's second city which was also seized by IS last year.

Correspondents say the current operation is crucial to any Iraqi plans to retake Mosul.

There were early claims of rapid advances being made as government forces pushed towards Tikrit from several directions.

But previous assaults on the militants there have been beaten back despite claims of victory by the state forces, so it will be some time before the fate of this latest offensive becomes clear.

It is a battle of great importance. 

Both the Iraqi prime minister and the Americans have been heralding an even more significant push in the coming months to recapture the biggest city in northern Iraq, Mosul, which also fell to IS last June.

That campaign would be thrown into doubt if the government fails at Tikrit, which controls the strategic highway linking the south with the north.

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