Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Tikrit after a new push to retake the city met heavy resistance, a soldier who fought in the battle said Wednesday.
Government troops and allied Shiite volunteer fighters were forced to retreat just before sunset Tuesday to a base four km south after coming under heavy mortar shelling and sniper fire, the sources said.
The attempt to retake Tikrit, which fell on June 12 to Sunni insurgents led by the militant Islamic State group, began two-and-a-half weeks ago.
No fighting was reported in Tikrit Wednesday morning, according to residents.
Tikrit lies 160 km north of Baghdad. It is a stronghold of loyalists of the late dictator Saddam Hussein and ex-army officers who joined forces with Islamic State to take over large parts of north and west Iraq last month.
Looks as though the US is about to lose Iraq militarily for a second time, and economically for the first time, because when Baghdad falls, the US government will no longer be able to control who gets access to (what's left of) Iraq's oil, and in what currency it will be sold. In fact, that has sort of already happened. As reported in the telegraph.com on 11 July 2014:
Islamic State jihadists are raising as much as $1 million a day from the sale of crude oil recovered from conquered oilfields in Iraq that is then smuggled on to Turkey and Iran. Oil industry experts believe the group formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis) is able to command $25 a barrel for crude its fighters are moving in tankers from the oil plains south of Mosul. Middlemen based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq are able to turn a handsome profit on the supplies by selling its abroad for refining into the more valuable petroleum and diesel products. The specialist Iraqi Oil Report said the centre of the $1million trade was the town of Tuz Khurmatu on the fringes of the Kurdish region. Traders there are buying convoys of tankers supplied by Islamic State.
It is no wonder that the rebels took control of the oil-producing areas of Iraq first, in order to finance their rebellion>