The first successful operation by the Iraqi government forces together with Shiite militia allies took control of the last Islamic State strongholds in Tikrit on Wednesday, to reclaim a majority Sunni Muslim population center since the extremist group took control of most of central, western and northern Iraq last year.
The intelligence information indicated that the operation was considerably bloodier than anticipated, when the security forces and their Shiite allies began their offensive a month ago, destroyed the majority of the city and nearby areas. The fatalities among the pro-government alliance far exceeded 1,000.
The White House, in Washington recognized the conquest and credited the late and controversial intervention by U.S. aircraft, which instigated bombing Islamic State sites last week after the Iraqi impetus had stalled for two weeks.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said“You’ll recall that when this operation began, it did not include the support of coalition military air strikes,” The operation got stalled, right on the outskirts of the city, and remained stalled for a couple of weeks.”
The stalemate ended in a five days of airstrike, Earnest said, calling the result “a pretty compelling description of the victorious implementation of our strategy.”
Although the outcome of future operations against Islamic State forces in other areas they control remain unsure.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi asked for American aerial backing over protestations of Iraq’s largest Shiite militias, that had planned the operation as a platform of the country’s capability to handle the ISIS threat without Western intervention.
The episode exposed strains within Iraq’s Shiite-dominated governance over the roles of the U. S. – ed air coalition and of Iran, whose renowned Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani had personally overseen the initial stages of the offensive. A number of militias backed out of the offensive in protest, Wednesday, that left the majority of the forces in Tikrit was Iraqi army troops.
In announcing the end of operations, Abadi’s minister of defense, Khalid al-Obeidi, promised to continue the fight in Nineveh and Anbar, major provinces to the north and west, respectively, that remain largely under Islamic State control.
Although the hazard wasn’t utterly over in Tikrit. Iraqi forces there were still sweeping buildings for stray suicide bombers and snipers and were solely commencing to dismantle thousands of booby traps and margin bombs the Islamic State had left behind.