Photo: Syrian monastery in Tikrit, public domain image from Wikipedia
April 1, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—Iraqi forces backed by U.S. air strikes have been pummeling the city of Tikrit in Iraq, seeking to wrest control away from Islamic State terrorists, or ISIS. Now the Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi has declared a “magnificent victory” in the offensive.
In a video release, he added, "Here we come to you, Anbar! Here we come to you, Nineveh, and we say it with full resolution, confidence, and persistence," naming other provinces still under control of ISIS.
Regaining control of Tikrit, which was captured by ISIS extremists last summer, is seen as a key step toward eventually ousting ISIS from Mosul, capital of Nineveh and the religious heart of the Chaldean Christians homeland. San Diego’s East County is home to an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 Iraqi Chaldeans.
CNN reports plans to send 25,000 troops to regain control of Mosul.
Mortar fire from militants has reportedly fallen silent in Tikrit, which lies 80 miles from Baghdad. Iraqi forces are now working to clear the area of booby traps and roadside bombs, as well as reopening closed police stations, UT San Diego reports.
After that, Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban says the government will work to help displaced residents come home.
The Interior Minister hopes for a fund and international help to rebuild the ravaged city. But he stated, using the Arabic name for ISIS, “Daesh is completely defeated.”