The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) – in coordination with Hashd Al-Sha’abi and the Badr Brigades – have imposed full-control over the entire Baiji District after almost two consecutive months of non-stop fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) at this area located directly north of Tikrit – the provincial capital of the Salahiddeen Governorate.
With ISIS’ withdrawal from the Baiji District, the Iraqi Security Forces and their allies now control more than 70 percent of the Salahiddeen Governorate, along with 90 percent of the Diyala-Salahiddeen border.
The success in the Baiji District has also created a rather large buffer-zone for the Iraqi Security Forces around the provincial capital of Tikirt, which was liberated by the latter in early 2015 after a month-long operation to force the militants of ISIS to abandon their positions inside the city-center.
This time last year, many political and military analysts had written-off the Iraqi Security Forces after their withdrawal from the provincial capital (Mosul) of the Nineveh Governorate, leaving the entire city defenseless for the swarming ISIS combatants.
Much to the surprise of those same critics, the Iraqi Security Forces did not fall apart; instead, they recaptured almost all of the Salahiddeen and Diyala Governorates, despite only controlling 30 percent of the former in the Fall of 2015.
Where do the Iraq Security Forces go from here? The latter will now switch their attention to ISIS’ provincial stronghold of Al-‘Anbar, where the terrorist group has 80 percent of the province under their rule, along with the provincial capital (Al-Ramadi).