Reporting from the frontlines near Tikrit, VICE News found that the Iraqi government’s early claims of a successful offensive to retake the city were apparently overstated.
In this excerpt, VICE News travels to the front lines near Samarra, to embed with an Iraqi Shia militia on the hunt for fighters from the Islamic State.
In this extra scene, VICE News meets a survivor of the Camp Speicher massacre, a former Iraqi soldier, who describes in detail how he managed to escape.
VICE News traveled to Iraq in December to witness firsthand how Shia militias are taking the fight to the Islamic State, and to document the fallout of their controversial rise to power.
Video footage shows a battle for a police base in the center of the northern Iraqi city. Attacks also hit Baghdad and Samarra.
Samarrra is home to al-Askari shrine, a place of pilgrimage for Shia Muslims, but seen as sacrilegious by the Islamic State, who killed three people in morning attacks on the city.
Iraq has been forced to rely on Shia paramilitaries to do much of the fighting against IS. VICE News spent time with the Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a brigade battling to secure the northern outskirts of Baghdad and the city of Samarra.
Shia militias enlisted to fight against the Islamic State are kidnapping and murdering hundreds of mostly-Sunni victims with impunity, according to a new Amnesty International report.