Qassem Soleimani with his bodyguards near the frontlines of Tikrit
The Iraqi Security Forces and Iranian-backed Shiite militias have taken control of several key towns on the outskirts of Tikrit. Al Dor and Al Awja, which are south of Tikrit, and Albu Ajil, east of the city, fell to the ISF and these militias over the weekend. Al Alam, another nearby town to the northeast, was reported to have been taken yesterday. However, Reuters noted that the town is still contested as of today.
These Shiite militias, which are supported by the Iran’ Qods Force, are leading the fight in Tikrit. The militias are said to make up roughly two-thirds of the fighting force, out of the 30,000 troops in the area. The militias operate under the moniker of Hashid Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilization Committee. This so-called committee was formed by former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki after the collapse of the Iraqi Army last summer…
More pictures at the link. (Long War Journal)
Related (also from LWJ): Shiite militias, Iraqi forces surround Tikrit