After a week of intense fighting, Iraqi and Shi‘ite forces have retaken major parts of Tikrit — a strategically vital city in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle — from ISIS. Iranian military officials were also reportedly involved in the city’s recapture.
The battle, involving over 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and allied Shi‘ite militia, was the largest government operation to date and may be a prelude to recapturing Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control, the New York Times reports.
The U.S. was notably absent in direct military offensives in Tikrit, with some officials articulating unease about the central role of Shi‘ite militias and the Iranians in the recapture of Tikrit.
The Iraqi Prime Minister’s spokesperson Rafid Jaboori told the New York Times that the U.S., along with Kurdish forces, would play “a significant role” in retaking Mosul, adding that the U.S. and Iran shared an overarching objective of crushing ISIS.
Meanwhile, in northern Syria, U.S. air strikes have enabled Kurdish forces to reclaim dozens of ISIS-controlled villages, the U.S. Central Command reported.