Iraqi forces recapture parts of Baiji from ISIS

Iraqi forces recapture parts of the northern town of Baiji in Saladin province from ISIS fighters

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Iraqi forces said they had cleared ISIS from most of the town of Baiji on Thursday.

Iranian backed Shiite militia spokesman said Iraqi forces hope to drive ISIS out from the nearby oil refinery within days.

ISIS had captured the town and the country’s largest oil refinery of Baiji, 190 km north of Baghdad, in June last year. Since then the town and the refinery had been a battlefront between the Iraqi army backed by the Iran and the ISIS’ militants.   

Controlling the Baiji town will facilitate the advance of the Iraqi Army and Hashid Shaabi (People’s Mobilization Forces, PMF) towards Mosul city in the western province of Nineveh, which is under ISIS control.  

“There were still pockets of resistance to the northeast and northwest of the town, and ISIS fighters were trying to launch attacks from Siniya village, 5 km to the west,” Ahmed al Asadi, Hashid Shaabi spokesman said in a news conference in Baghdad.

"I can say that over 90 percent of the district has been cleared and the remaining areas will be done in the coming hours," he added.

The crude oil storage tanks and pipelines at the refinery had been damaged beyond repair, while natural gas tanks and processing facilities, as well as the power station providing electricity to the refinery, have also suffered damage, an officer at the regional military command center said.

"The enemy still controls a part of the refinery, but the more important parts are under the control of the Hashd and other branches of the armed forces," Asadi said.

"After these pockets of insurgents are cleared, the refinery will be surrounded from all sides and we will announce in the coming days the liberation of the refinery.”

TRTWorld and agencies