Sunday, June 7, 2015

Iran-led Coalition Forces Recapture Baiji City - UPDATE

UPDATE: Announcements by the Iraqi defense ministry and  Hash al-Shaabi (PMF) spokesmen were premature. The city of Baiji and the area surrounding it are not recaptured and remain contested.

Iran-led Shia militias with support from the Iraqi security forces have recaptured the city of Baiji. ISIL fighters withdrew from the city center on Sunday and were retreating toward Mosul while under intense air attack.

“We can announce that Baiji city is completely liberated and the Iraqi flag was raised over the governor building,” said Muhammed al-Eqbali, a spokesman for Hash al-Shaabi, the umbrella organization for the militias. (CNN, 7 June)

Brig. Gen. Tahseen Ibrahim, a spokesman for Iraqi defense ministry, confirmed the recapture of the city.

“Forces have cleansed and are in control of government complex, (Baiji) city center, Fatah mosque and surrounding neighborhoods,” Ibrahim said.

General Ibrahim also thanked U.S.-led coalition for “significant role” supporting Iraqi ground forces during the Baiji operation, without specifying what kind of support the forces received.

Liberation of Baiji city is a major defeat for the Islamic State and will pave the way for the control of nearby Baiji Oil Refinery and recapture of Ramadi.

Photo credit: Shia militia and Iraqi security forces during their offensive to retake Baiji city. (Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)  

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