Iraq Claims Gains in Long-Contested Refinery Town of Baiji

Officials Predict Retaking City Within a Few Days

Desperate to show some actual progress in the war against ISIS and totally stalled in their counter-offensive against Ramadi, the Iraqi military has turned its sights on an old favorite, the central city of Baiji, home of the nation’s largest oil refinery.

Baiji has traded hands several times over the course of the war, and Iraqi officials claim they have taken much of the city’s downtown region today, saying they believe the city will be captured outright in the next few days.

Retaking the city would give the Iraqi military, and the Shi’ite militias backing them, a shot at retaking parts of the refinery, which is mostly lost to ISIS. Either way, months of fighting has left the refinery so badly damaged that production will likely be impossible for years.

Iraq has also claimed to have turned back an ISIS offensive against Husseiba, a town on the outskirts of Ramadi. The fighting was said to have lasted several hours, and included several suicide car bombings. Iraqi officials attributed anti-tank missiles as their victory.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.