Three months after Iraqi forces recaptured former president Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit from Islamic State militants, the first families return home. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Coming home to Tikrit. Some three months after pro-gernment forces in Iraq recaptured Saddam Hussein's home town -- residents are returning. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED RETURNED WOMAN FROM TIKRIT, SAYING: "We are very pleased and we are eager to return home. Even if we find it a mere heap of bricks, we will place one brick over the other and sit inside. Even if we have to pitch a tent in the place and sit under it, the important thing is to return home and return to our city. We are the ones who will rebuild it again, God willing." Supported by Shi'ite militias and U.S.-led air strikes, government forces dislodged Islamic State from Tikrit in April after a month-long battle. The city has been largely deserted since then. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MAN FROM TIKRIT, YASSIR MAJEED MOHAMMED,SAYING: "We cannot describe our feelings in words, thank God. We hope more families would come because Tikrit will only be defended and protected by its people." Convoys of 50 families, escorted by police are heading towards the city -- with hopes a future can be built from what remains of the past.