QUOTE: Civilians face fresh disaster if Iraqi forces push on north once Tikrit falls
By Emma Graham-Harrison, March 16, 2015
THE GUARDIAN: “All life had basically ground to a complete halt even a few months ago,” said Zaid Al-Ali, author of The Struggle for Iraq’s Future, and a frequent visitor to Tikrit before it came under Isis control. “You couldn’t live there because there was nowhere to buy food. There were just a few families living in small pockets.”
More than 20,000 soldiers have driven Isis militants from around half the city, Reuters reported, but they have now paused in their offensive to await reinforcements for the brutal street-to-street battles that will be needed to win full control. Isis still controls central districts, and a complex of palaces built by Hussein. The militant group is believed to have spent months creating an elaborate web of up to 180,000 booby traps and IEDs for the forces they expected would try to retake the city.