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

Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Unlikely Before Monday

Tension builds over possible indictment of white police officer in shooting death of black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current Russian-backed rebels’ fight in east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid