Refugee Crisis Looms as Iraqi Troops Reach Outskirts of Tikrit

UN Sending Aid for Thousands Already Displaced

Iraqi ground troops, backed by Iranian artillery and massive numbers of Shi’ite militia fighters, have entered the town of al-Dour today, putting them on the outskirts of the ISIS-held city of Tikrit, their intended target.

The status of the offensive is somewhat vague right now, with Iraqi forces saying they’d only entered Dour and are dealing with a number of rigged bombs within, while Badr Brigade leader Hadi Amiri claimed the town was already “liberated.”

Whatever the case, the planned invasion by a Shi’ite dominated force of a Sunni town has already led to thousands of civilians fleeing, and fears of a growing refugee crisis as the fight actually reached the city itself.

Though Iraqi officials are downplaying the risk, Shi’ite militias have repeatedly carried out violent purges of reclaimed towns, killing Sunnis they believe were loyal to the ISIS forces that controlled the town.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.