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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (4)
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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid