Monday, May 4, 2015

Iraqi Forces Besieged at Baiji Oil Refinery

ISIL Insurgents Deep Into Compound
Iraqi forces besieged inside the country’s largest oil refinery are running low on food and ammunition and are pleading for reinforcement to save them from Islamic State insurgents who have advanced deep into the compound in the past week, Reuters reported on Monday. They hold large sections of the sprawling refinery complex where some 200 elite special forces, soldiers and federal police are holding out.

“We are surrounded by Daesh (ISIL) from all sides… We can hear Daesh fighters shouting and threatening to behead anyone they catch. We are running short of ammunition, food and drinking water. We eat only one meal a day. We tear our uniforms to bandage other solders’ and policemen’s wound,” said Mohanad, a policeman speaking via telephone from the refinery where his unit has taken up defensive positions inside the complex. (Reuters, 4 May)

The refinery has been for all practical purposes destroyed during the fighting, but remains one of the most fiercely contested spots in Iraq. The Iraqi security forces are as fiercely battling ISIL nearby to secure a highway leading to the refinery to send reinforcement and supplies.

On 18 April, Iraqi officials said they were fully in control of the compound, but the insurgents have since gained ground and capture large portions of the complex.

File photo: Baiji oil refinery complex (Reuter) 

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