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Iraq: Shia Muslim militia hands over parts of Tikrit to Iraqi army

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BAGHDAD (AA): Saraya al-Salam, a Shia Muslim militia, handed over several parts of Iraq’s northwestern city of Tikrit to the army on Thursday roughly one year after liberating the areas from the Daesh terrorist group.
“Saraya al-Salam has officially handed over security responsibility to the Iraqi army’s Baghdad Operations Command in areas located southwest of [Tikrit’s] Al-Ishaqi district,” Saraya member Iyad al-Musawi told Anadolu Agency.
According to al-Musawi, all militia elements have now withdrawn from the areas and have since been replaced by Iraqi military personnel.
Saraya al-Salam is the military wing of the Sadrist movement led by prominent Iraq Shia Muslim cleric and opposition figure Moqtada al-Sadr.
The group is part of the Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella of pro-government Shia militias that are currently engaged in the fight against Daesh.
In mid-2014, Daesh overran the Al-Ishaqi district of Tikrit, the regional capital of Iraq’s northern Saladin province.
Almost one year later, Iraqi security forces — backed by the Hashd al-Shaabi — retook the district, with Saraya al-Salam assuming responsibility for security in the Samarra, Balad and Al-Dujail areas.
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul along with vast swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
In recent months, the Iraqi army — backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and its allies on the ground, including the Hashd al-Shaabi — has since managed to retake much of the territory lost earlier to Daesh.
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