As Iraqi government forces advance on Tikrit, Iraqi residents are worried about the future of their country.
A year ago, a coalition of American, Kurdish and Arab forces was on the offensive to liberate Tikrit and other parts of the country from IS, which has seized large swathes of Iraq.
But the Iraqi military has since lost control of much of the city, which is still under a strict curfew.
“The coalition has been losing Tikrit because the city is not safe for people to go outside,” said a resident named Asadi.
Many Iraqis have fled the city since the war broke out.
But as the war has raged on for more than a year, residents of Tikrit fear that they will never be able to return.
I still fear that if they leave, they will return to their old lives, said Asadi, whose house was destroyed during the offensive.
For the past year, I have been living in my parents house, but now, there are no families, no neighbors, and there is no security in the city.
This is the beginning of the end of my life.
Asadi is a 25-year-old Iraqi man.
He fled his home in Tikrit in 2014.
The military, led by the US, has taken control of the town.
It has forced residents to sleep on mattresses in a makeshift camp, and has also confiscated and destroyed their belongings.
“The Americans told us that they would protect us, but they have turned against us, against the coalition, against us,” said Asad.
“Now, they want to destroy us.
They want to tear our homes apart.”
Asad, a taxi driver and father of four, left Tikrit to escape IS.
He is now living in a small apartment in the Iraqi capital.
He says he is still terrified of returning to the city because IS has taken over much of his city.
“It’s been 10 years since the US launched their offensive, and now the US is fighting us, not with them,” he said.
Despite the loss of Tiktor, the Iraqi government says it is making progress against IS, and is on the verge of launching a new offensive against the militants.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday that the coalition will be launching another offensive on Wednesday.
Abadi also said that IS militants were moving their headquarters and weapons to other areas of Iraq, and that the US would launch a ground operation in the coming days to retake Tikrit.
Abadi promised to send in the UN’s special envoy to Iraq, the envoy to Syria, as well as the United States.
“We have decided to send an envoy to Baghdad and the UN to discuss the situation in Iraq and the coalition’s operation against IS,” Abadi said.
The coalition said on Friday that it had launched the first phase of the operation in Tikrom, and was aiming to retake the city by the end or the end to end of this month.
On Saturday, the military announced that it would take over Tikrit from the Iraqi Security Forces.
“After this, we will launch an offensive in the province of Diyala,” Abid said.
“The battle in Diyalta is progressing, and the operation will continue.
I can tell you that we will liberate Tikrom as soon as the offensive starts.”
Iraqi government forces launched a counteroffensive on Monday to retake Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
The operation will see them attack the provincial capital of Ramadi and the city of Samarra, as the Iraqi army attempts to retake Fallujah.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who leads IS in Iraq, said on Saturday that Iraqi forces would enter Fallujah, “the capital of the province,” and “the last stronghold of the caliphate” that will fall in “the coming days.”
“The liberation of Fallujah will be our last and the most important goal of the Islamic State,” Baghdadi said in a video message posted online.
The US has said it will supply arms and support to the Iraqi forces.
The US also says it will allow humanitarian aid into the city to help the civilians.
But the city’s residents fear that the military will try to use it as a base for operations in Fallujah and elsewhere.
“I have no hope for our city,” said the resident named Ali.
“We are afraid of all the US soldiers who will try their best to kill us, our families, our brothers.”
Ali is an Iraqi citizen who fled to the United Arab Emirates after fleeing from IS in 2014, when the militant group seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.
His family has been living on the streets of Tikrot since the beginning.
Ali, who was only 12 when he left, told Al Jazeera that he was afraid to go back to Tikrit until he was ready to leave.
“Even now, I don