Iraqi Troops Surrounded as ISIS Advances Into Key Refinery

Last Defenders Say They're Likely to Be Overrun

Iraq’s largest oil refinery, Baiji, has traded hands several times over the course of the past year, with neither side holding it long enough to really do anything with it. Over the weekend, ISIS began another push.

As usual, ISIS seems to have made short work of the exterior defenders of the refinery, leaving around 200 government troops inside the interior of the complex, and running short on supplies. Officials estimate ISIS holds two-thirds of the site.

We are surround from all sides,” warned one of the policeman within the complex, saying they are short of ammo, food, and drinking water, and that many of the troops are setting aside a bullet for themselves in case ISIS overruns their position, adding “it’s an easier way to die than being beheaded.”

Back when Baiji was running, it processed some 175,000 barrels of petrol a day. That’s almost a year ago at this point, however, and the sheer amount of damage done to the site means it’s likely not to be producing for a long time to come.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of