Iraqi PM: Tikrit Recapture at Hand
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said retaking the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group is within reach, but the ongoing military operation is carried out cautiously to save civilian life.
"Liberation of Tikrit is at hand and we highly insist on the deployment of forces, protection of (the lives of) civilians and fighters in the battlefield and the humanitarian issues," Abadi was quoted as saying by Al-Sumaria TV.
The Iraqi premier also noted that the military operation in the Salahuddin province is progressing on schedule.
Since early March, tens of thousands of Iraqi troops, backed by volunteer forces, have launched a massive military operation to retake the city of Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad.
The campaign to recapture Tikrit is the biggest offensive so far against the Takfiri militants. If successful, it would be the first time the army and voluntary forces have recaptured a major city from the terrorist group.
The battle over Tikrit is crucial for Iraqi forces in their advance towards Mosul, Iraq's second largest city. Tikrit also serves as an important hub because it is on the main highway leading to Baghdad.