|Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014)|
|Part of the "Iraq War (2014–present)|
" "Syria (limited involvement)
"Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Sunni Islamist militias
"" "al-Nusra Front (alleged limited involvement)
|Commanders and leaders|
|"Ali Hatem al-Suleiman|
190,000 Kurdish peshmerga
|Free Iraqi Army: 2,500|
|Casualties and losses|
|||711+ killed (255 executed)|
|1,235–1,265 civilians killed (by 25 June)|
95 Turkish civilians "captured
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.
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.
Since December 2013, clashes involving tribal militias, Iraqi security forces, and the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been occurring throughout western Iraq. In early January 2014, ISIL militia successfully took control of "Fallujah and "Ramadi, bringing much of "Anbar Province under their control. Afterwards, the Iraqi Army began conducting an offensive against the Anbar region, the stronghold of ISIL, with the stated goal of bringing the region under government control. Prior to conducting this counter offensive, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave a controversial speech in which he charactized the military campaign as a continuation of the ancient sectarian war between "the followers of "Hussein and the followers of "Yazid", a reference to a 7th-century "defining battle for Shi'ites, thereby alienating the Sunnis of Anbar who had prior collaborated with the Iraqi government.
The advances ISIL made in neighboring Syria—a source of their weapons—substantially strengthened their position. In early June, insurgents began to advance up over to central and northern part of Iraqi land following the Iraqi Army's capture in["clarification needed] the Anbar industrial zone. At that point, they were still in control of most of Fallujah and "Garmah, as well as parts of "Haditha, "Jurf Al Sakhar, "Anah, "Abu Ghraib and several smaller settlements in "Anbar Province.
On 29 June 2014, ISIL announced a change of name to Islamic State, and declared a '"Caliphate' that includes Syria and Iraq. They then declared Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the "Caliph and leader of all Muslims.
Some trace the beginnings of current offensive to the "Syrian civil war which gave ISIL and other Sunni jihadi groups a cause and a battlefield when it looked like their campaign in Iraq was in decline while critics of the "US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 believe the root of these events should trace back to unsuccessful nation-building as well as sectarian and ethnic division in the aftermath of "Saddam Hussein's removal from power. According to "Tony Blair, the former "Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, "there is also no doubt that a major proximate cause of the takeover of Mosul by ISIL is the situation in Syria... The operation in Mosul was planned and organised from "Raqqa across the Syria border. The fighters were trained and battle-hardened in the Syrian war. It is true that they originate in Iraq and have shifted focus to Iraq over the past months. But, Islamist extremism in all its different manifestations as a group, rebuilt refinanced and re-armed mainly as a result of its ability to grow and gain experience through the war in Syria." This view was criticized by various officials including former British ambassador to the United States "Christopher Meyer who said that the invasion of Iraq serving as a proximate cause for the rise of extremism. "Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote that had Obama forcibly intervened in the "Syrian Civil War, it "could have stopped the carnage spreading today in Syria and in Iraq," while "Fareed Zakaria, editor of Time and former Middle Eastern policy advisor for the Bush Administration["clarification needed], alleged that counterproductive western intervention in Iraq and Syria served to accelerate sectarian infighting in both countries and empowered radicals on all sides. The Financial Times described the conflicts spanning Iraq and Syria as religious wars akin to Europe's "Thirty Years' War.
According to the Iraq's government critics, the pro-Shia policies of al-Maliki have been considered one of the main reasons of alienation Sunni Arabs and Kurds, which has played a significant role in the deterioration of security and the reemergence of Sunni extremists. Conversely, al-Maliki has accused "Saudi Arabia of backing the militants of ISIL, who want to carve out a Sunni "caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. This view was supported by writers in Foreign Policy magazine and The Daily Beast who asserted that the Saudi government, viewing the political ascendancy of Iraq's Shia populace as a threat, elected to provide the Sunni opposition with arms. Michael Weiss traces the origins of ISIL to "Ansar al-Islam's infiltration of Iraqi Kurdistan through Iran prior to the invasion of Iraq, and further cites a variety of evidence to claim that Syrian officials intentionally abetted the rise of ISIL to damage the reputation of moderate Syrian rebels.
The Iraqi army which took responsibility for holding northern Iraq, collapsed when militants including ISIL and its allies, with less than 1000 militants, attacked and seized Mosul and Tikrit easily. The Iraqi army ceded control of Kirkuk to the Kurdish Peshmerga. There are different reasons offered for this event. According to The Guardian, one scenario is that the three Iraqi generals responsible for Mosul, Tikrit, and Kirkuk didn't want to fight for a state that wasn't working. According to The Daily Telegraph, the other view is that the generals in the military headquarters of these cities had shared the same "Ba'athist ideology and were the first to flee. Another scenario is that the Iraqi troops quickly realized they were no match for battle-hardened and ideologically motivated jihadis heading their way. A third theory is that the Kurds had long ago lost faith in prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's ability to serve either their interests or those of Iraq.
"Washington Institute for Near East Policy analyst Michael Knights noted that mutual opposition to the Shia-led government allowed for an alliance between the hitherto ideologically opposed ISIL and secular Ba'ath influenced insurgents such as the "Naqshbandi order. Coordination between both groups granted ISIL the assistance of underground networks of former military, insurgents, Sunni officials and tribal groups sympathetic to the Ba'ath era government, thereby allowing a relatively small number of militants to execute a "coup" in Sunni regions where the banned Ba'ath party still retains a degree of support. The presence of Naqshbandi, "MCIR and other secular Sunni insurgent groups has therefore led to tribes and some "Awakening Councils opposed to ISIL supporting the insurrection. Additionally, Knights reported that in the years preceding the insurrection, the Naqshbandi led by "Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri aggressively forged ties to elements of Sunni civil society opposed to the Maliki government, encouraged the establishment of protest camps at sites including "Hawija and attempted to co-opt Sunni militia. The arrival of ISIS militants from Syria ultimately serving as the final catalyst behind a broader revolt.
On 4 and 5 June 2014, ISIL militants attacked and captured parts of the city of "Samarra. The ISIL operatives blew up a police station south of Samara overnight, killing several policemen, before they advanced on the city in pick-up trucks, raiding checkpoints along the way. They entered the city from the east and west and quickly captured the municipality building, university and the two largest mosques. The insurgents had reached to within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the "Al-Askari Mosque, which was defended by three security belts. Militants targeted command centres near the shrine. Soon, government reinforcements were sent from Baghdad and the military managed to regain control of the city, pushing militant forces out of Samarra. 12 policemen and several civilians were killed in the fighting, while an army official claimed 80 militants also died.["citation needed]
On 6 June, ISIL attacked Mosul from the northwest and quickly entered the western part of the city. The ISIL forces numbered approximately 1,500, while there were at least 15 times more Iraqi forces. The assault started at 02:30 in the morning when ISIL convoys of pickup trucks advancing from the west shot their way through the two-man checkpoints into the city. By 03:30, street fighting was raging in Mosul. In southern Mosul, five suicide bombers attacked an arms depot killing 11 soldiers. Two suicide bombers also killed six people in the village of Muaffakiya, near Mosul. Heavy fighting continued in the city the next day. Over the two days, 61 militants, 41 government troops and seven civilians were killed.
As the militants advanced they seized military vehicles and weapons and reportedly hanged soldiers and lit them ablaze, crucified them, and torched them on the hoods of Humvees. On the western edge of Tamoz 17 neighbourhood, police from the fourth battalion made a stand against the insurgents as government forces were order to form a defensive line to cordon off the besieged western Mosul neighbourhoods from the Tigris River.
While fighting raged in Mosul, on 8 June, a double bomb attack, including a suicide bomber, against the Kurdish "PUK party office in the town of "Jalawla left 18 people dead, most of them members of the Kurdish security forces. At the same time, ISIL advanced to the east of Mosul, capturing the "Hawija, "Zab, Riyadh, and Abbasi areas west of the city of "Kirkuk, and Rashad and Yankaja to its south after government forces retreated.
By this time, insurgents surged into Mosul, sleeper cells hiding in the city had been activated and neighbourhoods rallied to them. The insurgents bombed a police station in the al-Uraybi neighbourhood and charged into the area around the Mosul Hotel, on the western bank of the Tigris, where a battle post was set up for 30 police SWAT members.
The next day, ISIL forces executed 15 security forces members captured near Kirkuk. Four days later, on 13 June, in the eastern part of the province, Kurdish military forces ("Peshmerga) advanced and took the city of Kirkuk, after government forces abandoned their posts in the face of the ISIL offensive, expanding the Kurdish zone of control in Northern Iraq. Kurdish forces then awaited further orders before moving towards the areas controlled by ISIL. A Peshmerga spokesman said, "The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of Peshmerga, no Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk now." Ten tanks and dozens of Humvee vehicles that had been abandoned by the Army were seized by Kurdish forces.
By the afternoon of 9 June, some 40 members of the fourth police battalion were among the very last local police fighting to hold back the jihadists in western Mosul. The rest had either defected or deserted. At 04:30 in the afternoon, a military water tanker, rigged with explosives, raced towards the Mosul Hotel where the policemen were stationed. The subsequent explosion wounded the battalion's commander, Colonel Dhiyab Ahmed al-Assi al-Obeidi, whose leg was ripped open by the blast. Other police officers then transported him by boat across the river. This attack broke the defensive line in the west of the city.
That night, generals Aboud Qanbar and Ali Ghaidan decided to withdraw across the river, leaving Lieutenant General Mahdi Gharawi, the operational commander of Nineveh province, at his command post without any orders. Ghaidan and Qanbar's retreating convoy created the impression that Iraq's security forces were deserting and so "Iraqi Army soldiers started to flee Mosul. The "2nd Division (Iraq) had deserted the city within a few hours and both Ghaidan and Qanbar arrived in Kurdistan the next day.
On the morning of 10 June, Gharawi and 26 of his men, who were still at the operation command centre in the western part of the city, decided to fight their way across a bridge to eastern Mosul. On the east bank, their five vehicles were set ablaze and after coming under heavy fire, during which three of the soldiers were killed, it was every man for himself, as Gharawi said. In the east, Gharawi and three of his men commandeered an armoured vehicle with flat tires and headed north to safety. The militants were in control of much of the city by midday on 10 June. The militants seized numerous facilities, including "Mosul International Airport, which had served as a hub for the U.S. military in the region. It was thought all aircraft located there had been captured, including helicopters and jet fighters. The militants also claimed to had released at least 2,400 prisoners, after seizing police stations and prisons across the city. However, after the "takeover of Badush prison near Mosul, ISIL separated and removed the Sunni inmates, while the remaining 670 prisoners were executed. At the end of 10 June, ISIL was considered to be in control of Mosul.
On 11 June, ISIL members seized the Turkish consulate in Mosul and kidnapped 48 Turkish citizens including the consul general, three children and several members of the "Turkish Special Forces. Reports suggested the abductees were taken to a nearby militant base and were unharmed. An unnamed Turkish official confirmed the government was in contact with the insurgents, while Prime Minister "Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held an emergency meeting with members of the "National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and Deputy Prime Minister "Beşir Atalay to discuss the situation. The daring assault came a day after 28 Turkish truck drivers were abducted by militants while delivering fuel to a power plant in Mosul. Earlier that day, the governor of "Ninawa Governate, "Atheel al-Nujaifi, accused the military commanders that were in Mosul of abandoning the battlefield and fleeing from the city. The governor demanded that they be tried in a military court. He also stated that it was not just ISIL that captured Mosul but that other small militias had provided support in capturing the city. On 20 September 2014 the hostages captured on 11 June 2014 from the Turkish consulate in Mosul were released.
ISIL seized large quantities of US-supplied military equipment. It also freed thousands of prisoners, many of whom are likely to join the insurgency.
There were conflicting reports about the east bank of Mosul, which has a significant population of "Assyrians, "Kurds, "Turkmens, "Shabaks and "Armenians, with some suggesting it was controlled by Kurdish Peshmergas while according to others it was ISIL-controlled.
Sources within the Iraq government allege that in the months preceding the assault, Ba'ath loyalists led by al-Douri had been in contact with disaffected Sunni officers who either defected or withdrew upon the ISIL-Ba'ath attack. While speaking to the charity "Aid to the Church in Need, "Chaldean Catholic Church Archbishop "Amel Nona stated "Mosul's last remaining Christians had left now a city which until 2003 was home to 35,000 faithful."
On 11 June, insurgents advanced into the oil refinery town of "Baiji, seizing the main court house and police station and setting them on fire. The militants, who were travelling in a group of around 60 vehicles, also took control of the Baiji prison and freed all the inmates. Local residents told members of the media that ISIL sent a group of local tribal chiefs ahead of them to convince the 250 guards at the oil plant to withdraw, while soldiers and police had been warned to leave as well. Later in the day, militants reportedly retreated from Baiji, either due to persuasion from local tribal leaders or due to reinforcements from the Iraqi Army's Fourth Armored Division arriving in the city. However, the next day it was confirmed ISIL was still in control of the town, except the refinery which was surrounded.
Continuing their offensive, on the evening of 11 June, insurgents took full control of the city of "Tikrit, the hometown of former president "Saddam Hussein and the second provincial capital to fall in two days. Local officials reported that checkpoints had been set up around the city, while at least 300 inmates had been freed from the city's prisons, many of them serving sentences under terrorism charges. Two police stations were burned down and a military base was captured. ISIL forces had also reached Samarra and were fighting government troops at the city's northwest entrance.
At this point, Iraqi government officials described the situation as a "strategic disaster" for the Iraqi government and army.
On 12 June, ISIL continued their advance towards "Baghdad, the capital and largest city of Iraq, moving into towns just an hour's drive from the city. It controlled parts of the small town of Udhaim, 90 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, after most of the army troops left their positions and withdrew towards the nearby town of "Khalis in "Diyala Province. ISIL also captured ten towns in "Saladin Province, but not "Tuz Khormato, "Dujail, "Balad, "Samarra or "Amirli. Samarra had reportedly become surrounded by ISIL forces.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi Border Patrol battalion stationed along the Syrian border in the western Anbar province abandoned its positions in the face of advancing ISIL forces to break out to the relative safety of the Kurdish-controlled town of "Sinjar in Nineveh. However, the convoy of 60 trucks and hundreds of border police were thrown into disarray and panic when a small force of ISIL vehicles attacked them en route. By the time Kurdish forces arrived, the police force had been completely routed, with an unknown number of killed and captured, while others fled into the desert, leaving all their vehicles behind. Only two policemen managed to arrive at Sinjar on foot.
In the early hours of 13 June, ISIL seized two towns in Diyala Province, after security forces abandoned their posts in "Al-Sadiyah and "Jalawla. Several villages around the "Hamrin Mountains were also captured. At the same time, Kurdish forces entered Jalula to secure offices of Kurdish parties in the town.
On 13 June 2014, Iraqi forces supported by elements of the "Quds Force and "Iranian Revolutionary Guards had gathered in the town of "Samarra and claimed to have regained control of parts of "Saladin Province, namely the town of Dhuluiyah. Journalists from "Al-Monitor embedded in Mosul and Tikrit reported that repeated airstrikes by the government made ISIL militants depart from conspicuous positions within the cities. In their place, militants associated with the "Naqshbandi Army and other anti-government groups led by former Ba'ath officers assumed the visible role of patrolling and administration.["clarification needed] Militants were reported to have appointed former Ba'ath generals Azhar al-Obeidi and Ahmed Abdul Rashid as the governors of Mosul and Tikrit. Sunni militants remained in control of Tikrit and its strategically significant "COB Speicher military base and air field. Insurgents in Tikrit were reported to be mining the roads leading into the city and positioning artillery to resist an anticipated siege.
According to "The Guardian newspaper, the call to arms by the highest Shia authority in Iraq, "Grand Ayatollah "Ali Sistani, on 13 June mobilized in less than one day around a division of militiamen who, unlike the military, would not run from a fight with the insurgents.
On 14 June, Al-Maliki went to Samarra and declared "Samarra will be the starting point, the gathering station of our troops to cleanse every inch that was desecrated by footsteps of those traitors." There were conflicting reports about the situation of "al-Dhuluiya, outside of Samarra. Government officials and state TV claimed that Iraqi security forces had taken control of the town, but security officials in Samarra and witnesses there told CNN the town was still under ISIL control.
The same day, the Iraqi military attacked ISIL forces in "al-Mutasim, 22 kilometres (14 mi) south-east of Samarra, driving militants out into the surrounding desert. Meanwhile, the bodies of 128 Iraqi soldiers and policemen killed in clashes with ISIL were received by medical staff in Mosul.
Also, it was reported that the Iraqi Army had killed seven Kurdish security forces in an airstrike in Diyala. Jabbar Yawar, the secretary general of the Peshmerga, said talks with Iraqi authorities were under way to ascertain what had happened. The next day, the military recaptured "Ishaqi where the burned bodies of 12 policemen were found.
On 28 June, Iraqi forces launched an attack against the city of Tikrit.
Late on 15 June, after repeated assaults, an insurgent assault, primarily led by the Naqshbandi Army and former Ba'athists, captured "Tal Afar and its nearby airbase The defenders, composed largely of Shia "Turkmen and soldiers retreating from Mosul, escaped to Kurdish-controlled territory. During the fighting for Tal Afar, 18 militants died, and ten people were killed in the insurgent shelling of the town. The local security garrison suffered heavy casualties, but the number was unknown. It was also claimed that Major General Abu Al-Waleed was captured at Tal Afar, but he allegedly later denied this on state TV. During that day, rebels made claims of executing 1,000–1,800 captured soldiers, while the military claimed the Air Force had killed 279 militants in the previous 24 hours. Analysis of execution videos by military experts managed to confirm the killing of at least 170 soldiers.
On 15 June, ISIL also advanced further into "Diyala province gaining control of two villages in "Adhaim, northeast of "Baghdad. The next day, 28–29 Iraqi Shiite volunteer militiamen were killed in an ambush of their convoy south of Samarra by ISIL. Meanwhile, the military claimed to have killed 56 insurgents in areas of western and southern Baghdad, while fighting in Diyala province left 29 militants and eight soldiers dead. A number of soldiers were also captured. The first Iranian soldier was also killed.
West of Baghdad, ISIL captured "Saqlawiyah where army helicopters were hovering over the town to provide cover for retreating troops. During the fighting a helicopter was shot down. In the evening, police executed 44 Sunni prisoners at a police station in "Baqubah before retreating due to an advance by ISIL forces which captured several neighborhoods in the city. Conflicting information has been presented regarding the number killed and the identity of those responsible, as the "Washington Post reported that the prisoners were either killed during a battle with ISIL or "preemptively" by security forces. The situation regarding the killing of a Sunni imam in Baghdad is also unclear.
On 17 June, according to BBC the Army had retaken the captured districts of Baqubah. Elsewhere, security forces withdrew from the "Al-Qa'im border crossing as rebels from the "Free Syrian Army and "al-Nusra Front crossed the border and took hold of it. Also, east of Samarra, the bodies of 18 executed security force members were discovered.
On 18 June, ISIL attacked Iraq's largest oil refinery in "Baiji with mortars and machine guns. An official from inside the refinery stated the militants had captured 75 percent of the facility, while a military spokesman claimed the attack had been repelled with 40 insurgents being killed. Meanwhile, rebels overran three villages in Salaheddin province following fighting that left some 20 civilians dead. Also, "India said that 40 of its nationals, who were working for a Turkish construction company in "Mosul, had been abducted by militants. At the same time, "Raouf Abdel Rahman, the presiding judge during the trial of Saddam Hussein, was reportedly captured and executed by insurgents, though that was later denied by family members and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
On 19 June, government forces claimed to have regained full control of the Baiji oil refinery, after heavy fighting with ISIL fighters that left 100 militants dead. An Iraqi witness who drove past the Baiji refinery told the "Associated Press that ISIL had hung their banners from the watch towers and created checkpoints surrounding the facility, despite government claims of control. By the evening, the two sides held different parts of the refinery. The same day, ISIL captured the Al Muthanna Chemical Weapons Facility near "Lake Tharthar, 45 miles northwest of Baghdad, in an area which was firmly come under rebel control by this point.
On 20 June, the oil refinery was still surrounded by ISIL forces and had once again come under attack. By the evening, US officials had told "ABC News that the 270 Iraqi troops trapped in the refinery were outnumbered and outgunned. And, with ISIL in control of the roads to and from Baiji, there was little chance of their resources being replenished. The militants planned to wait until the troops ran out of food and ammunition. On the same day, ISIL claimed to have captured most of the Tal Afar airport. Kurdish forces, who were accompanied by a BBC news crew, became surrounded by ISIL on three sides in Jalula and later it was confirmed the control of the town was divided between the Kurds and ISIL.
On 21 June, militants captured the Baiji oil refinery after overnight clashes with government forces. On the same day, Iraqi Shia militias rallied all over Iraq to show their strength. The largest rally was in Baghdad in which thousands of members of Shia militia "Promised Day Brigades participated. Also, ISIL clashed with allied Sunni militants, leaving 17 dead in Hawija.
On 23 June, insurgents captured the Tal Afar airport and secured the town itself. Iraqi security sources confirmed for the first time the Baiji oil refinery had been seized by militants, after being attacked for several days. 400 soldiers of the 37th Brigade, including its officers, deserted from the refinery following an agreement reached with tribal leaders per which the troops had free passage to leave for 24 hours. 50–75 police commandos, who refused to desert, attempted to prevent the Brigade's desertion at gunpoint but were outnumbered by the soldiers and backed down. This left the insurgents in control of virtually the entire facility, except one compound where the refinery's operating systems are located due to the "SWAT members barricading themselves in the building. A standoff ensued as the insurgents didn't want to risk a direct assault for fear of damaging the facilities systems. Instead, ISIL decided to slowly starve out the commandos if they refused to surrender, since no reinforcements could be flown in to the SWAT unit due to the heavy insurgent anti-aircraft fire around the refinery. The siege of the building continued as of mid-July.
By this point, sources reported that a combination of desertions, casualties and loss of equipment crippled the regular Iraqi military, forcing the government to increasingly rely on volunteers drawn from Shia militias. Iraqi officials also conceded they had essentially given up on the north of the country to the insurgent forces.
On 24 June, the "Syrian Arab Republic launched its first airstrikes in Iraqi territory after previously targeting Syrian-Iraqi border crossings controlled by ISIL. Syria launched new strikes the next day when at least 50 people were killed and 132 others wounded, including civilians, after missiles launched by Syrian fighters hit a municipal building, a market, and a bank in "Al Rutba. It was unclear whether the Syrian fighters actually entered Iraqi territory when they made the airstrikes.
On 25 June, anonymous American officials reported that Iran set up a special control center at Al-"Rasheed Air Base in Baghdad and was flying a "small fleet" of "Ababil drones over Iraq, and an Iranian signals intelligence unit had also been deployed at the airfield to intercept electronic communications between ISIL fighters and commanders. 10 divisions of Iranian and "Quds Force troops were massed on the "Iran–Iraq border and about two dozen Iranian aircraft had been stationed in western Iran. Meanwhile, insurgents overran the Ajeel oil site, east of Tikrit, after the nearby town of al-Alam was seized by the militants and insurgents surrounded on three sides the massive Balad air base, also known as "Joint Base Balad and "Camp Anaconda" under U.S. occupation, and struck it with mortars.
On 26 June, government forces launched an airborne assault on "Tikrit and an all-out ground offensive two days later in an attempt to recapture the city. However, by 30 June the assault had stalled and government troops pulled back from Tikrit to the south, after meeting stiff resistance, in an attempt to regroup.
Also during this time, on the morning of 26 June, militants captured the town of Mansouriyat al-Jabal, which is the home to four natural gas fields, although government forces managed to recapture the town the next day. They also reportedly recaptured al-Alam.
On 4 July, the ISIL published a video claiming its leader, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivered a sermon for half an hour during "Friday prayers at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri Mosul, Iraq. "Iraqi agencies are still investigating the video and comparing it with its intelligence," Iraq's military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Qassim Atta, said on 7 July. On the other hand, the United States "has no reason to doubt" the authenticity of a video that purports to show ISIL leader.
On 15 July, the military launched a new assault on Tikrit from Awja. However, by the next day, government troops had been repelled and once again retreated. Several security force's vehicles were seen abandoned, with at least one of them burnt out.
In early August 2014, ISIL launched a new offensive against Kurdish-held territory in northern Iraq and within days "captured the town of Sinjar, displacing its "Yazidi population. ISIL had also advanced to within 40 kilometers from the Kurdish capital of "Erbil. This prompted the United States to start launching "air-strikes on advancing ISIL forces.
On 29 June 2014, ISIL or ISIS announced its name change to the Islamic State and announced the formation of a 'Caliphate', which would include Iraq and Syria, and in theory covers the global Muslim population. They called upon Muslims all over the world to pledge allegiance to their Caliph, "Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. ISIL claimed to have a plan to take over the city of "Arar in Saudi Arabia, which is very close to the Iraqi border.
In July NBC news reported that disagreements had erupted between ISIL and two large Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq, the "Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order and "1920 Revolution Brigade, leading to skirmishes between the allies on July. NBC quoted an unnamed senior U.S. counterterrorism official claiming that "the tribal groups do not necessarily follow strict Islamic law the way ISIS does, which naturally leads to conflict".
"Masoud Barzani, the leader of the "Kurdistan autonomous region expressed on 3 July his will to "organize a referendum to push forward the area's independence from Iraq. The Kurdish forces indeed control "an important area in northern Iraq, outside of ISIL's control, and now away from the Iraqi government's influence. "Israel's prime minister "Benyamin Netanyahu declared in June 2014 that his government would support an independent Kurdistan.
Reports tell that thousands of Christians, "Yezidis and other ethnic minorities were massacred by ISIL fighters. After the capture of "Qaraqosh, the Iraq city with largest Christian population, on 7 August, thousands fled their homes from the city and Mosul as they were given an ultimatum by the insurgents. The Christians, Yezidis and other minorities were massacred. They were buried alive, burnt alive, shot down, the women of these groups were raped and killed or married to ISIL fighters.
"Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, "Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of militants", Joseph Thomas, the Arch Bishop of the Iraqi cities of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, told AFP. Qaraqosh has an estimated Christian population of about 50,000.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako said the ISIL advance into Iraq created a 'humanitarian disaster' and that more than 100,000 Christians were forced to leave their homes. "The churches are occupied and crosses taken down", and more than 1,500 documents had been destroyed, he said.
'ISIL' forces were even criticized by "Al-Qaeda because of their brutality in killing even Sunni Muslims. The group had issued an ultimatum to the Christians to either convert to Islam, pay taxes or prepare to die. Thousands of Christian families left Mosul after the ultimatum was issued. ISIL also destroyed Christian, Jewish and Muslim shrines, churches and mosques in Mosul. Among the religious sites destroyed were the tomb of Jonah (a sacred site for Christians and Jews, and even a mentioned prophet in the quran), an accompanying mosque and the tomb of George.["citation needed]
Despite the security crisis, Iraq's Parliament was not convened and did not allow Maliki to declare a state of emergency; many Sunni and Kurdish legislators boycotted the session because they opposed expanding the prime minister's powers.
Most Iraqis view the conflict as a partial Sunni uprising, rather than as a simple lunge for power by ISIL.
On 13 June 2014, the highest religious authority for the "Shia in Iraq, "Grand Ayatollah "Ali Sistani, asked people to fight the Islamic State. According to one of his representatives, "Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai, he asked for "people who are capable of carrying arms and fighting the terrorists in defense of their country... (to) volunteer to join the security forces to achieve this sacred goal".
In late June, powerful Shiite cleric "Muqtada al-Sadr vowed to "shake the ground" under the feet of the militants, days after fighters loyal to him paraded with weapons in the Sadr City area of north Baghdad, vowing to fight the militant offensive.
Fugitive Iraq Vice President "Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni who described the fall of Mosul as a "Revolution of the oppressed, downtrodden and marginalized people in Mosul", denied ISIL played a leading role amongst the government's opponents and alleged the militancy against the central government was led by Sunni tribes and disenfranchised Sunnis.
Another prominent Sunni, "Ali Hatem al-Suleiman (emir of the large "Dulaim tribe), claimed "It is the tribal rebels who are in control of the situation in Mosul. It is not reasonable to say that a group like ISIL, which has a small number of men and vehicles, could be in control of a large city like Mosul. Therefore, it is clear that this is a tribal revolution, but the government is trying to force us all to wear the robe of the terrorists and ISIS."
A member of insurgent held Mosul's governing council, a former colonel in the Ba'ath era military alleged that the opposition to the government was composed of multiple Sunni Arab factions, most of which are led by officers from the "disbanded military. The former officer claimed that the various opposition factions were working to minimize ISIL influence and appoint officials capable of restoring services in insurgent held areas.
Kurdish parliamentarian Shoresh Haji stated "I hope that the Kurdish leadership will not miss this golden opportunity to bring Kurdish lands in the disputed territories back under Kurdish control".
On 14 June, Shaykh "Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the "International Union of Muslim Scholars, described the event as a "national revolution" He said the insurgency "could not have been led by one Islamist party," a reference to ISIL, instead describing it as a "all-out Sunni revolution" (or "Overwhelming revolution for "Sunnah" ) and warned against sectarian war. Calling for the formation of a "national unity government", he said that "this is not a revolution against the Shias".
According to the "Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, "The Kurds, seeing the Iraqi central regime's weakness, will take all the necessary measures to protect their autonomy and expand their influence to neighboring "Syrian Kurdistan. The Kurds understand very well that they could be the next target after the "Assyrians and accordingly will preempt any attempt by the jihadists to set foot in their areas. The fall of Mosul could become the beginning of Kurdish quest for independence."
Tirana Hassan, of the "Human Rights Watch, reports that Khorasani Brigade, a Shia militia, has ethnically cleansed the village of Yengija, 50 miles south of Kirkuk. The Sunni population was driven from the village and their homes were razed.
Kurdistan's military forces ... have taken over many of the northernmost positions abandoned by the national army, significantly expanding the zone of Kurdish control... "In most places, we aren't bothering them [ISIL, and they aren't bothering us – or the civilians," said Lt. Gen. Shaukur Zibari, a pesh merga commander.
Iraqi Kurdish forces took advantage of the chaos to take control of the oil hub of Kirkuk as the troops of the Shi'ite-led government abandoned posts, alarming Baghdad's allies both in the West and in neighboring Shi'ite regional power Iran... Kurds have long dreamed of taking Kirkuk and its huge oil reserves. They regard the city, just outside their autonomous region, as their historic capital, and peshmerga units were already present in an uneasy balance with government forces.
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