News / Middle East

Iraq Launches Military Offensive in Tikrit

Members of Iraqi security forces take their positions during a patrol looking for militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) west of Kerbala, June 29, 2014.
Members of Iraqi security forces take their positions during a patrol looking for militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) west of Kerbala, June 29, 2014.
VOA News

The Iraqi army has launched what it calls a major offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from Sunni ISIL extremists.

Military officials say the main ground operation started Saturday with heavy fighting in the city between Sunni militants and Iraqi special forces attempting to regain control of a university campus. Iraqi helicopter gunships fired on the area to repel the militants as Iraqi tanks rumbled from the south to attack.

Casualties are unclear at this time.

Meanwhile, Iraq says it has received several secondhand Russian fighter jets to use in the fight against the militants.

The operation comes shortly after U.S. officials said its military is flying armed drones in Iraqi airspace to protect U.S. military advisers sent to help counter insurgents.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent 300 military personnel to Iraq earlier this month to strengthen government security forces and help establish joint operation centers to combat ISIL.

Human Rights Watch said Friday analysis of photographs and satellite imagery "strongly indicates" that ISIL extremists conducted mass executions in Tikrit after seizing control of the city.

The rights group says the extremists killed between 160 and 190 men in at least two locations between June 11 and 14.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Middle East to encourage regional leaders to tackle the Islamist militant threat posed by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.  The White House has announced it wants to send $500 million to train Syrian rebels fighting ISIL and the Syrian president's forces.

Kerry met Thursday in Paris with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, in an effort to rally regional unity against ISIL.

On Friday he held talks with Saudi King Abdullah.   Reuters reports that Abdullah pledged to use Saudi influence to encourage Iraqi Sunni Muslims to join any new inclusive government that might replace the administration of current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has been criticized for stoking sectarian tensions in Iraq.

The prime minister has rejected forming any new emergency government saying that would go against the country’s constitution and the results of the April 30 parliamentary election. 

Some material in this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
June 29, 2014 11:41 AM
THE WISE MAN said it; -- "In the midst of ever changing military battles, unplanned adjustments must be made, including adjusting strategy, changing your troop positions, troop rotations, and replacing some officers.... and those who make the proper instant battle adjustments, will win the battles"... "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu

MY OPINION? -- Soon, like a Mongol horde, the Maliki Iraqi troops will overwhelm the Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi army, (and do like the Mongols did), they'll leave the bones of Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi army, bleaching in the sands of Iraq forever.... (but Maliki must beware of the advice given by the US and NATO countries, who arm his enemies)....

by: RanaSahib from: Ontario
June 28, 2014 10:08 PM
Not going to happen. Gotterdammerung for the nation state concept as applied to Iraq. ISIS can't be stopped.

by: Fatma from: Iraq
June 28, 2014 9:41 PM
I think that what Iraq mostly needed is peace. We don't need new militia build as army and collecting people in a call of religion against anothers in the same country. .
This is not government..
Iraq needs strong civilian professional government believe in all iraqis equal.
And when this happens everything else will be so easy to solve and we'll get back every area automatically

by: meanbill from: USA
June 28, 2014 7:57 PM
MY OPINION? -- I guarantee that the Maliki counterattack against the Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi, will be successful, as long as they don't continue to give any quarter, (or take the advice of the US and NATO countries), who'll want the Shia Muslim attacking forces to give quarter, (a ceasefire), to the soon to be defeated Sunni Muslim (ISIL) army....

PICTURE THIS? -- The Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi army, (hasn't enough fighters to hold or guard surrendering Iraqi troops, or other submitting Infidels), and all of them, and the Shia Muslims, are given the extreme punishment from the al-Baghdadi appointed Judges (Qadis), who are ordered to execute all the Shia Muslims, who al-Baghdadi calls "The Filthy Ones" .... that he believes, should be wipe off the earth.....

The (Qadis) Judges, are legal under Sunni Muslim law, and their qualifications are, they must be free, sane, adult, trustworthy, and a Muslim, and the decisions of the (Qadi) Judge is final, and irrevocable.... Non-Muslims and non-believers, call the executions terrorist acts, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, but in reality, they are legal under Sunni Muslim Islamic law.....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs