The Takfiris may be seeing the end of their short-lived glory marked by gore and horrific acts of public beheadings and burning people alive. Iraqi government forces backed by militias--both Shia and Sunni--have made significant gains in and around Tikrit, hometown of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Husain. Further west in Syria, the Syrian army is making steady gains against them in Aleppo. The takfiris are being squeezed from both sides.
Wednesday March 11, 2015, 22:47 DST
The battle for Tikrit, hometown of the executed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Husain, is beginning to look like the end of the takfiri terrorists that have been rampaging through Iraq and Syria since last June.
Some 30,000 Iraqi troops backed by militias and Sunni tribesmen have made significant gains in fighting in and around Tikrit that started 10 days ago. Iran's al-Quds Force commander, General Soleimani is believed to be coordinating Iraqi operations.
Located on the banks of the Tigris River, Iraqi government forces have advanced towards the centre of the city that has multiple palaces built by the dictator.
Army and militia fighters captured the northern Qadisiya district of Tikrit, according to the provincial governor today (March 11), while in the south of the city, another force made a rapid push towards the centre.
A day earlier, the town of al-Alam on the northern edges of Tikrit was freed from the clutches of the takfiris paving the way for assault on the city itself.
Government troops also captured the Tikrit Military Hospital today as the American news agency, the Associated Press (AP) video showed troops and militia marching alongside Humvees flying Iraqi military and militia flags in the city.
There also appears to be a concerted effort in Syria’s Aleppo province to push the takfiris from there as well.
The Tikrit and Aleppo operations, while not necessarily coordinated, seem to be squeezing the takfiris forcing them to launch their signature tactics—suicide bombings—as they did in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, today killing at least 10 people.
While Tikrit has not been completely liberated from their clutches, the setbacks the takfiris have suffered signal not only military but also psychological defeat.
As home base of the former dictator, Tikrit is seen as symbol defiance by the terrorists. Its loss would be a major blow and likely to pave way for the assault on Mosul where they made their murderous debut last June.
Liberation of Tikrit from the takfiris’ clutches will help persuade other Sunni tribes to join government forces in driving the terrorists out of their country.
It will also inflict a major blow on the efforts of those that are stoking sectarianism to keep Muslims divided and weak.
Tikrit may well turn out to be the most important battle for the liberation of Iraq in its long, tortuous blood-soaked history.