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.v 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. A later 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 Green Church Of Tikrit
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.
was born there around 1138.
The modern province of which Tikrit is the capital is named after him.
The city was devastated in 1393 by Timur
. During the Ottoman period Tikrit existed as a small settlement that belonged to the Rakka Eyalet
; its population never exceeded 4,000–5,000.
View of Tikrit ca. 1914
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."
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.
Tikrit Air Academy (formerly COB Speicher
), site of the Camp Speicher massacre
by ISIL, was recaptured and used as an offensive launching platform for the second battle of Tikrit where Gen. Qasem Soleimani
coordinated the Badr brigade & Kata’ib Imam Ali efforts.
On June 11, 2014, during the Northern Iraq offensive
, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levanttook 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.
Culture and community
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Last edited on 4 May 2021, at 16:52
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