QUOTE: pro-government forces struggle to topple Isis in Tikrit
By Kareem Shaheen, March 6, 2015
THE GUARDIAN: Others said the advance was likely to take longer. “There was initial optimism in lots of circles that Tikrit would be liberated within a few days, but that was very unrealistic,” said Zaid al-Ali, author of The Struggle for Iraq’s Future, a study of the country’s post-invasion decline. “Isis has been entrenching itself in the town for eight months and has booby-trapped the whole place.
“So yes, the offensive is bogged down but that is what we expected,” he added. “It will take some time for Iraqi forces to win this, perhaps weeks and perhaps even more.”
Ali said Isis was expected to put up a strong fight for Tikrit because its defeat would mark the first time the militant group had been forced to withdraw from a major town under its control. “It would be a severe blow to its reputation as a capable fighting force,” he said.