A senior United Nations (UN) official has hailed the Iraqi government forces for their recent recapture of the strategic northern city of Tikrit from ISIL (Daesh) militants.
“It is a victory for all the Iraqi people,” Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Jan Kubis said on Wednesday.
He added that the UN is prepared to offer assistance to Iraq’s provincial and national authorities as they try to cope with the needs of thousands of displaced people.
“Civilians’ safety and security must be protected in line with fundamental human rights principles and humanitarian law”, Kubis said, calling on Baghdad to ensure the safe return of displaced Tikriti residents to their homes, and quick humanitarian assistance to all those in need.
On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said units of government forces, backed by Shia and Sunni volunteer fighters, had wrested control of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad, from ISIL fighters.
Tikrit had been seized by ISIL in June last year. The city’s recapture now paves the way for the Iraqi army to take control of the country’s second-largest city and ISIL stronghold, Mosul.
Human casualties in March
Meanwhile, latest figures released by the UN show that acts of terrorism and violence left nearly 1,000 people dead in March. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a total of 997 Iraqis lost their lives last month, while 2,172 others were injured.
The UN mission added that while the number of the civilians killed stood at 729, the number of civilians injured hit 1,785. Violence also claimed the lives of a further 268 members of the Iraqi security forces while 387 others sustained injuries.
A great portion of the fatalities was recorded in Baghdad, where 362 civilians were killed and 928 others wounded
A total of 51 people were killed and 75 others wounded in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala. Thirty-four deaths and 48 injuries were also recorded in the northern Salahuddin Province.
ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of the city of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland.
Iraqi soldiers, police units, Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen have recently succeeded in driving the terrorists out of some areas in Iraq.
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