|arya||Date: Monday, 23-March-2015, 7:37 PM | Message # 1|
Last week Iraqi defence officials and Shia military commanders were confidently predicting the fall of Tikrit within a matter of days.
But the city centre is still in the hands of Islamic State (IS) fighters, despite being bombarded for more than a fortnight.
At one of the main roads into the city, it is now strangely silent - interrupted only by the occasional burst of small arms fire.
It looks like a stalemate with the Shia-led militia on one side and IS fighters dug into defensive positions on the other, within the city itself.
Driving with the commander of the Shia Badr Brigade, Hadi Al-Amiri, towards the frontline, we passed the areas recently liberated, by the so-called Popular Mobilisation Units.
They don't like the label Shia militia and say that Sunnis opposed to IS are joining in their fight.
We witnessed a trail of destruction.
There are allegations that the Shia militia themselves caused some of the damage with "revenge attacks" on the mostly Sunni villages that surround the city.
But there is also evidence of a determined enemy.
There was the mangled wreckage of armoured vehicles and cars - some the burnt-out debris of one of IS's favoured weapons of choice, the suicide bomber.
Hadi Al-Amiri said there had be 15 such attacks on this one road.
Read more/Full article/source - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32017915