Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters today that Iraqi forces were encircling the city of Tikrit. He added that the battle lines were now “static” and Iraqi troops and militia fighters have yet to move into city center.
Reports of imminent victory by Iraqi and militia spokesmen now seem to be premature. Last week, a spokesman for PMF (militia umbrella group) told reporters that the Iran-led coalition would overrun the city center within 48 hours.
The Iraqi military has now declared a pause to the Tikrit offensive, pending the arrival of reinforcements, as the army and the militias have taken significant casualties, The Washington Post reported today.
The Pentagon spokesman said Iraqi forces have “a way to go still.” He added, “Urban warfare is difficult.” (The Washington Post, 19 March)
Photo credit: Iraqi forces at the scene of clashes with ISIL fighters in eastern Tikrit, 15 March 2015 (EPA/STR/WashPost)