Iraqi forces retake refinery town of Baiji, military says
Iraqi forces and volunteer fighters have managed to liberate a major northern town from the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, military officials say.
The spokesman of Iraq’s Joint Military Command Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said on Tuesday that army troops and paramilitary fighters, known as Popular Mobilization Forces, retook the town of Baiji in Salahuddin Province earlier in the day.
Baiji is located about 180 kilometers (112 miles) south of the major city of Mosul, which fell to the Takfiri militants in June 2014. The town, which is home to Iraq’s largest oil refinery, has been the scene of fierce clashes between terrorists and pro-government forces over the past weeks.
Footage aired by the state-run TV showed Iraqi troops waving flags from rooftops in Baiji as thick black smoke billowed into the air.
Iraqi officials announced the liberation of the oil installations in Baiji last week.
Baiji is the second most significant area recaptured in Salahuddin over the past months as pro-government forces retook the provincial capital of Tikrit in late March after weeks of clashes with the militants. The liberation of Baiji could be a prelude to Iraq’s highly-anticipated offensive into Mosul, which has served as the de-facto capital of Daesh in Iraq.
The allied Iraqi forces are also fighting against Daesh in the western province of Anbar, where reports have indicated significant advances by the army around positions of the terrorist group in the provincial capital of Ramadi.