Tikrit (Arabic: تكريت Tikrīt [ˈtɪkriːt], Classical Syriac: ܬܓܪܝܬ Tagriṯ) sometimes transliterated as Takrit or Tekrit, is a city in Iraq, located 140 kilometres (87 mi) northwest of Baghdad and 220 kilometres (140 mi) southeast of Mosul on the Tigris River. It is the administrative center of the Saladin Governorate. As of 2012, it had a population of 160,000.
Under Ba'athism, Tikrit was notable as the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, and early on as a power base for the regime. In recent years the city has been the site of conflict culminating in the Second Battle of Tikrit from March through April 2015, resulting in the displacement of 28,000 civilians. The Iraqi government regained control of the city from the Islamic State on March 31, 2015. But the city was recaptured at the end of 2015 and now is in peace.
Gates of Tikrit
Location of Tikrit within Iraq
|Governorate||Salah ad Din|
|• Mayor||Omar Tariq Ismail|
|Elevation||137 m (449 ft)|
As a fort along the Tigris (Akkadian: Idiqlat), the city is first mentioned in the Fall of Assyria Chronicle as being a refuge for the Babylonian king Nabopolassar during his attack on the city of Assur in 615 BC.
Until the 6th century, Christianity within the Sasanian Empire was predominantly dyophysite under the Church of the East, however, as a result of Miaphysite missionary work, Tikrit became a major Miaphysite (Orthodox Christian) centre under its first bishop, Ahudemmeh, in 559. Under Marutha of Tikrit, the bishopric was elevated into a maphrianate and the city's ecclesiastical jurisdiction extended as far as Central Asia.
The city remained predominantly Syriac Orthodox Christian in the early centuries of Islamic rule and gained fame as an important centre of Syriac and Christian Arab literature. Some famous Christians from the city include its bishop Quriaqos of Tagrit who ascended to become the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, theologians Abu Zakariya Denha and Abu Raita, and translator Yahya ibn Adi.
From the ninth century Christians of Tikrit began to migrate northwards due to restrictive measures taken by some Muslim governors. Many settled in Mosul and villages in the Nineveh Plains, especially Bakhdida, as well as Tur Abdin. The Christian community received a setback when the governor ordered the destruction of the main cathedral known popularly as the "Green Church" in 1089, the maphrian and some of the Christians of Tikrit had to relocate to the Mar Mattai Monastery, where a village named Merki was established in the valley below the monastery. Another governor permitted the reconstruction of the cathedral. However, instability returned and the maphrian moved indefinitely to Mosul in 1156.
Regardless, the city remained an important center of the Syriac Orthodox Church until its destruction by Timur in the late 14th century. A Christian presence has not existed in the city since the 17th century.
The town was also home to the Arab Christian tribe of Iyad. The Arabs of the town secretly assisted the Muslims when they besieged the town. The Muslims entered Tikrit in 640, it was from then considered as part of the Jazira province, it was later regarded as belonging to Iraq by Arab geographers.
The Tikriti Jewish community was mostly gone by 1948. By the time Saddam Hussein rose to power there were only two Jewish families in the city.
The city is the birthplace of Saddam Hussein. Many senior members of the Iraqi government during his rule were drawn from Saddam's own Tikriti tribe, the Al-Bu Nasir, as were members of his Iraqi Republican Guard, chiefly because Saddam apparently felt that he was most able to rely on relatives and allies of his family. The Tikriti domination of the Iraqi government became something of an embarrassment to Hussein and, in 1977, he abolished the use of surnames in Iraq to conceal the fact that so many of his key supporters bore the same surname, al-Tikriti (as did Saddam himself). Saddam Hussein was buried near Tikrit in his hometown of Owja following his hanging on December 30, 2006.
In the opening weeks of the 2003 US-led invasion, many observers speculated that Saddam would return to Tikrit as his "last stronghold". The city was subjected to intense aerial bombardment meant to throw Saddam's elite Republican Guard troops out of the city. On April 13, 2003 several thousand U.S. Marines and other coalition members aboard 300 armored vehicles converged on the town, meeting little or no resistance. With the fall of Tikrit, U.S. Army Major General Stanley McChrystal said, "I would anticipate that the major combat operations are over."
However, during the subsequent occupation Tikrit became the scene of a number of insurgent attacks against the occupation forces. It is commonly regarded as being the northern angle of the "Sunni Triangle" within which the insurgency was at its most intense. In June 2003, Abid Hamid Mahmud, Saddam Hussein's Presidential Secretary and the Ace of Diamonds on the most wanted 'Deck of Cards,' was captured in a joint raid by special operations forces and the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
After the fall of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein was in and around Tikrit. He was hidden by relatives and supporters for about six months. During his final period in hiding, he lived in a small hole just outside the town of ad-Dawr, fifteen kilometres south of Tikrit on the eastern bank of the Tigris, a few kilometers southeast of his hometown of Al-Awja. The missions which resulted in the capture of Saddam Hussein were assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Teams of the 4th Infantry Division, commanded by Colonel James Hickey of the 4th Infantry Division. The U.S. Army finally captured Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003 during Operation Red Dawn.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, AFN Iraq ("Freedom Radio") broadcast news and entertainment within Tikrit, among other locations.
On November 22, 2005, HHC 42nd Infantry Division New York Army National Guard, handed over control of Saddam Hussein's primary palace complex in Tikrit to the governor of Salah Ah Din Province, who represented the Iraqi government. Discontinuing the existence of what once was FOB Danger. The palace complex had served as a headquarters for U.S. 4th Infantry Division, U.S. 1st Infantry Division, and 42nd Infantry Division. The palace complex now serves several purposes for the Iraqi police and army, including headquarters and jails. The U.S. military subsequently moved their operations to al Sahra Airfield, later known as COB Speicher, northwest of Tikrit.
Saddam Hussein's primary palace complex contained his own palace, one built for his mother and his sons and also included a man made lake, all enclosed with a wall and towers. Plans for the palace grounds when originally returned to the Iraqi people included turning it into an exclusive and lush resort. However, within weeks of turning over the palace, it was ravaged, and its contents, (furniture, columns, even light switches), were stolen and sold on the streets of Tikrit.
The 402nd Civil Affairs Detachment of the U.S. Army, and the government of Salah Ah Din province, began plans to improve local economic conditions. One of the many projects they are working on is building an industrial vocational school in the Tikrit area. The school will teach local people skills in different fields of technology, which will help to build and improve Iraq's economic stability. The curriculum will educate men and women in multiple occupational fields such as the production of high-tech products, plastic production technology, masonry, carpentry, petroleum equipment maintenance and repair, farm machinery and automotive repair. This self-supporting educational institution owns a textile mill where many of the graduates will work producing uniforms. The mill is scheduled to begin producing and selling products within the year, with the profits from the mill going to fund the school. The vocational school's operation, support and funding are modeled after a system South Korea used in another part of Iraq.
On June 11, 2014, during the Northern Iraq offensive, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took control of the city. Hours later, the Iraqi Army made an attempt to recapture the city, which resulted in heavy fighting. On June 12, ISIL executed at least 1,566 Iraqi Air Force cadets from Camp Speicher at Tikrit. At the time of the attack there were between 4,000 and 11,000 unarmed cadets in the camp. The Iraqi government blamed the massacre on both ISIL and members of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Iraq Region. By July 2014, government forces had withdrawn from Tikrit.
The University of Tikrit was established in 1987 and is one of the largest universities in Iraq.
The 15 August 2011 Iraq attacks were a series of terrorist incidents that took place across Iraq. At least 37 were killed and 68 injured in Kut after a roadside bomb and a car bomb exploded in the center of the city. A string of bombings and shootings in the capital took the lives of two and left 27 wounded. Eight were killed and 14 injured in a suicide car bombings in Khan Bani Saad City. Two car bombs exploded in the Najaf, killing 6 and injuring 79, followed by another blast near Karbala that killed 4 and injured 41. Numerous other attacks throughout the central and northern parts of Iraq (including a double suicide bombing in Tikrit) left 7 dead and at least 58 wounded.2011 Tikrit assault
The 2011 Tikrit assault was an attack by the Islamic State of Iraq that took place in the city of Tikrit, Iraq, on the 29 March 2011, while the war was still ongoing. Reuters news agency included the attack in its list of deadliest attacks in 2011. The Al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for killing 65 people and wounding over 100. At the time the United States Armed Forces were withdrawing. Tikrit was Saddam Hussein's birthplace.2017 Tikrit attacks
Islamic State militants kill at least 35 people including 14 security forces. The attack occurred in Tikrit.Ad-Dawr
Ad-Dawr (Arabic: الدور; pronounced similar to "door") also known as Al-Dour, is a small agricultural town near the Iraqi town of Tikrit.
Populated mainly by Arabs, ad-Dawr is home to a housing complex called "Saad 14", which was built by Hyundai Engineering & Constructions Inc., a major South Korean construction company, during the 1980s. One of the most well-known Arab historical scholars, Professor-Doctor Abdul Aziz Al-Douri (b. 1918 – d. 2010), was a native of ad-Dawr; he served as the chancellor of Baghdad University during the 1960s.Camp Speicher massacre
On 12 June 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) killed at least 1,600 to 1,700 Shia and Iraqi Army cadets in an attack on Camp Speicher in Tikrit. At the time of the attack, there were between 5,000 and 10, 000 unarmed cadets in the camp. ISIL fighters singled out Shia and non-Muslim cadets from Sunni ones and murdered them. The Iraqi government blamed the massacre on both ISIL and members from the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Iraq Region.Fall of Mosul
The Fall of Mosul occurred between 4–10 June 2014, when Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) insurgents, initially led by Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, defeated the Iraqi Army, led by Lieutenant General Mahdi Al-Gharrawi.
In January 2014, ISIL took control of Fallujah and Ramadi, inciting conflict with the Iraqi Army.
On 4 June, the insurgents began their efforts to capture Mosul. The Iraqi army had 30,000 soldiers and another 30,000 federal police stationed in the city, facing a 1,500-member attacking force. However, after six days of fighting, the city, Mosul International Airport, and the helicopters located there all fell under ISIL's control. An estimated 500,000 civilians fled from the city, due to the conflict.
Iraqi forces initiated an offensive on October 17, 2016, to retake the city, succeeding in their efforts in late July 2017.First Battle of Tikrit
The First Battle of Tikrit was a battle for the Iraqi city of Tikrit following the city's capture by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Ba'athist Loyalists during the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive. The battle took place between 26 and 30 June 2014.
In early June 2014, ISIL took control of a number of cities in northern Iraq, including Tikrit. Tikrit has symbolic significance as the hometown of Saddam Hussein, and is also the administrative center of the Saladin Governorate. The Iraqi government responded on 26 June by launching an air assault operation to recapture the city. This initial attack was reinforced by a ground assault on 28 June. Fighting continued on 29 and 30 June, but the battle was an insurgent victory, with government forces retreating on 30 June. The defeat coincided with ISIL's declaration of a worldwide caliphate on 29 June.
The Iraqi government made another attempt to retake the city on 15 July, but was again defeated. ISIL responded by attacking nearby Camp Speicher on 17 July. Tikrit remained under ISIL control until the Second Battle of Tikrit in March and April 2015.Hardan al-Tikriti
Hardan ’Abdul Ghaffar al-Tikriti (Arabic: حردان عبدالغفار التكريتي) (1925 – 30 March 1971) was a senior Iraqi Air Force commander, Iraqi politician and ambassador who was assassinated on the orders of Saddam Hussein. Additionally he held the titles of vice chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council and Vice President of Iraq.Hatran alphabet
The Hatran alphabet is the script used to write Aramaic of Hatra, a dialect that was spoken from approximately 98/97 BC (year 409 of the Seleucid calendar) to 240 AD by early inhabitants of present-day northern Iraq. Many inscriptions of this alphabet could be found at Hatra, an ancient city in northern Iraq built by the Seleucid Empire and also used by the Parthian Empire, but subsequently destroyed by the Sassanid Empire in 241 AD. Assur also has several inscriptions which came to an end following its destruction by the Sasanian in 257 AD while the rest of the inscriptions are spread sparsely throughout Dura-Europos, Gaddala, Tur Abdin, Tikrit, Sa'adiya and Qabr Abu Naif. Many of the contemporary ruins were destroyed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in early 2015. It was encoded in the Unicode Standard 8.0 with support from UC Berkeley's Script Encoding Initiative.January 2011 Iraq suicide attacks
The January 2011 Iraq suicide attacks were a series of four consecutive suicide bombings in Iraq.List of airports in Iraq
This is a list of airports in Iraq, grouped by type and sorted by location.Northern Iraq offensive (August 2014)
Between 1 and 15 August 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) expanded northern Iraqi territories under their control. In the region north and west from Mosul, ISIL conquered Zumar, Sinjar, Wana, Mosul Dam, Tel Keppe and Kocho, in the regions south and east of Mosul the towns Bakhdida (or Queragosh or Qaraqosh), Karamlish, Bartella and Makhmour.
The offensive resulted in 100,000 Iraqi Christians driven from their homes, 200,000 Yazidi civilians driven from their homes in the city of Sinjar, 5,000 Yazidi men massacred, 5,000–7,000 Yazidi women enslaved, and a air campaign by several Western countries against ISIL.
In the opinion of a member of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, ISIL's August campaign against Sinjar was more about demography and strategy than about religion: ISIL wanted to push most of the Kurds out of this strategic Kurdish area and bring in Arabs who were obedient to ISIL.50,000 of Sinjar's Yazidis took refuge in the adjacent Sinjar Mountains, where they lacked food, water and other basic necessities. 35,000 to 45,000 of them were evacuated within several weeks, after the United States bombed ISIL positions and efforts from Kurdish PKK, YPG and Peshmerga forces assisted their escape. Some ISIL-controlled territory was retaken; a subsequent Kurdish counter-attack recaptured the Mosul Dam and several other nearby towns.Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014)
The Northern Iraq offensive began on 4 June 2014, when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL; sometimes referred to as the Islamic State (IS)) and aligned forces began a major offensive in northern Iraq against the Iraqi government, following earlier clashes that had begun in December 2013.
ISIL and aligned forces captured several cities and other territory, beginning with an attack on Samarra on 4 June followed by the seizure of Mosul on 10 June and Tikrit on 11 June. As Iraqi government forces fled south on 13 June, the Kurdish forces took control of the oil hub of Kirkuk, part of the disputed territories of Northern Iraq.The Islamic State (IS) called the battles of Mosul and Saladin "the Battle of the Lion of God al-Bilawi," (Arabic: غزوة أسد الله البيلاوي) in honor of Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi.
By late June, Iraq had lost control of its border with Jordan and Syria. The then Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki called for a national state of emergency on 10 June following the attack on Mosul, which had been seized overnight. However, despite the security crisis, Iraq's parliament did not allow Maliki to declare a state of emergency; many Sunni Arab and ethnic Kurdish legislators boycotted the session because they opposed expanding the prime minister's powers.Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (; Arabic: صدام حسين عبد المجيد التكريتي Ṣaddām Ḥusayn ʿAbd al-Maǧīd al-Tikrītī; 28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization the Iraqi Ba'ath Party—which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17 July Revolution) that brought the party to power in Iraq.
As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflicts between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized oil and foreign banks leaving the system eventually insolvent mostly due to the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War, and UN sanctions. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatus of government as oil money helped Iraq's economy to grow at a rapid pace. Positions of power in the country were mostly filled with Sunni Arabs, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.Saddam formally rose to power in 1979, although he had already been the de facto head of Iraq for several years. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi'a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Whereas some in the Arab world lauded Saddam for opposing the United States and attacking Israel, he was widely condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship. The total number of Iraqis killed by the security services of Saddam's government in various purges and genocides is conservatively estimated to be 250,000. Saddam's invasions of Iran and Kuwait also resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair erroneously accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Following his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi Interim Government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'a, and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 30 December 2006.Saladin Governorate
The Saladin or Salah ad Din Governorate (Arabic: صلاح الدين, Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn) is a governorate in Iraq, north of Baghdad. The governorate has an area of 24,363 square kilometres (9,407 sq mi). The estimated population in 2003 was 1,042,200 people. The capital is Tikrit; the governorate also contains the significantly larger city of Samarra. Before 1976 the governorate was part of Baghdad Governorate.
The province is named after leader Saladin (written Salah ad-Din in modern Arabic Latin transcription), a Muslim leader who defeated the Crusaders at Hattin, and who hailed from the province. Salah ad Din was the home province of Saddam Hussein; he was born in Al-Awja, a town near Tikrit.Salahaddin FC
Salahaddin FC (Arabic: نادي صلاح الدين) is an Iraqi football team based in Tikrit.Salahuddin campaign
The Salahuddin Campaign was a military conflict in the Saladin Governorate (Salahuddin Governorate), located in north-central Iraq, involving various factions (both internal & external) fighting against a single common enemy, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The province exited Iraqi government control during ISIL's Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014) when large swathes of the north of the country were captured by the militant group with the Iraqi national army quickly disintegrating in the path of its advance. In light of the sweeping gains of the militants, Nouri Al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq at that time, attempted to declare a state of emergency though the Iraqi Parliament blocked his efforts to do so.The cities of Baiji and Tikrit (Saddam Hussein's birthplace and stronghold) fell to ISIS and the group even reached the city of Samarra itself but could not wrest control of it due to the resistance it encountered by the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the Shi'ite paramilitaries. Both the United States and Iran intervened in order to stem the tide against ISIS and were relatively successful in the breaking of the Siege of Amirli in which both parties played a significant role (however they did not and still do not officially cooperate or coordinate their respective efforts with one another). Although in the First Battle of Tikrit ISIS consolidated their control over the city and strongly repulsed any attempts at its recapture by Iraqi security forces and militia contingents.
After months of preparatory maneuvers and intelligence gathering, a force of over 23,000 allied fighters including the Iraqi armed forces, Shi'ite private militias and Sunni tribal militias began an offensive in early March to encircle ISIL and entrap their fighters in Tikrit and its environs in the Second Battle of Tikrit. The operation met with decisive success, with all the ISIL militants being encircled and subsequently killed or captured in Tikrit.Second Battle of Tikrit
The Second Battle of Tikrit was a battle in which Iraqi Security Forces recaptured the city of Tikrit (the provincial capital of the Saladin Governorate) from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Iraqi forces consisted of the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Forces (the bulk of the ground forces, consisting of Shia militiamen and also some Sunni tribesmen), receiving assistance from Iran's Quds Force officers on the ground, and air support from the American, British, and French air forces.The city of Tikrit, located in the central part of the Saladin Governorate in north of Baghdad and Samarra and lying adjacent to the Tigris River, was lost to ISIL during the huge strides made by the group during its offensive in June 2014. After its capture, ISIL retaliated with the massacre at Camp Speicher, a nearby training facility for the Iraqi Air Force. After months of preparation and intelligence-gathering, Iraqi forces engaged in offensive operations to fully encircle and subsequently retake the city, starting on 2 March 2015. The offensive was the largest anti-ISIL operation to date, involving some 20,000–30,000 Iraqi forces (outnumbering ISIL fighters more than 2-to-1), with an estimated 13,000 ISIL fighters present. It was reported that 90% of the residents of the city left out of fear both of ISIL and retaliatory attacks by Shia militias once the city is captured. As such, most of the residents fled to nearby cities, such as Baghdad and Samarra, or even further to Iraqi Kurdistan or Lebanon.On 4 April, after several days of heavy fighting and acts of vengeance committed by some Shia militias, the situation in the city was reported to have been stabilized, and the last pockets of ISIL resistance were eliminated, with an Iraqi Police Major reporting that "The situation now is calm." However, on 5 April, continued resistance by 500 ISIL fighters in the city was reported in several pockets, which persisted for another week as government forces continued combing Tikrit for hiding ISIL fighters, especially in the northern Qadisiya District. On 12 April 2015, Iraqi forces declared that Tikrit was finally free of all ISIL forces, stating that it was safe for residents to return. However, pockets of resistance persisted until 17 April, when the last 140 ISIL sleeper agents in the city were killed. Cleanup and defusing operations in the city continued, but Iraqi officials predicted that it would take at least several months to remove the estimated 5,000–10,000 IEDs left behind by ISIL in Tikrit.Tikrit District
Tikrit District is a district of Saladin Governorate, Iraq. Its leading city is Tikrit.
|Climate data for Tikrit, Iraq|
|Average high °C (°F)||14.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||9.1
|Average low °C (°F)||4.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||28
|Source #1: Climate-Data.org (altitude: 109m)|
|Source #2: SunMap|
|Dhi Qar Governorate|