Despite attempted portrayals of a sectarian battle taking place in the longtime Jihadist stronghold of Tikrit, some 5,000 Sunni militiamen are fighting alongside the Iraqi Security Forces and Shi’i paramilitary units to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham inside the city and surrounding area.
On Tuesday, the ISF and their allies received a big boost from a local Sunni tribe that declared their support and alliance with the former in the city of Baiji; this comes three days after the ISF launched their offensive in Tikrit.
The Sunni tribe formed a militia group that labeled themselves as the “Martyrs of Salahiddeen” – they will assist the ISF in defending Baiji from any militant attacks; however, there was no confirmation about their participation in the battle for Tikrit.
ISIS militants are attempting to convey the battle of Tikrit as a sectarian fight against the Iranian-backed Shi’i, who are attempting to impose their own agenda on this predominately Sunni city.
Camp Speicher, in northwestern Tikrit, was the scene of the heinous massacre of 1,700 Iraqi soldiers by militants of ISIS last June – for many of the ISF fighting in Tikrit, this battle holds a profound meaning, as the Camp Speicher massacre was propagated by ISIS social media networks without any remorse for the dead.