Many analysts worry that there could be revenge attacks by Shia militias against Sunni inhabitants and many civilian casualties. If air support is called in to a battle within the city there is bound to be considerable damage to infrastructure and remaining civilians may be casualties.
Alaa Makki a member of the mostly Sunni Islamic Party said: "There is a minimum amount of Daesh (IS) fighters in Tikrit. They are controlling the situation there--wow!" However, the Iraqi Interior Minister said that the Iraqi forces wanted to give citizens a chance to evacuate their areas and also wanted to preserve the infrastructure of the city as well as ensuring the least number of lives lost among the security forces. The IS has booby-trapped roads and buildings leading into the city slowing the advance the Iraqi forces. Outside the city Saddam Hussein's tomb is said to have been badly damaged in fact virtually destroyed.
Tikrit is in the heart of the Sunni triangle where the majority of citizens are Sunni and who were strong supporters of Hussein.
The apparent difficulty in retaking Tikrit places in doubt whether the larger IS-controlled city of Mosul will be retaken any time soon.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.