Iraqi forces break jihadist siege of main oil refinery

Ousting Islamic State fighters marks another significant achievement for Baghdad, a day after pro-government forces retook the town of Baiji

Kirkuk: Iraqi forces broke a month-long siege by jihadist fighters of the country’s largest oil refinery on Saturday as top US officers flew in to discuss the expanded war against the Islamic State group.

An Iraqi soldier walks through Jurf al-Sakhr after regime forces retook the town from Islamic State militants on October 27, 2014. File pic
An Iraqi soldier walks through Jurf al-Sakhr after regime forces retook the town from Islamic State militants on October 27, 2014. File pic

Ousting Islamic State fighters from around the refinery would mark another significant achievement for Baghdad, a day after pro-government forces retook the nearby town of Baiji. “Iraqi forces reached the gate of the refinery,” the governor of Salaheddin province, Raad al-Juburi said.

Three officers confirmed that Iraqi forces had reached the refinery, 200 kilometres north of Baghdad, where security forces have been encircled and under repeated attack since June. A joint operation by the army and Shiite militia earlier this week wrested back the Adhaim Dam in the eastern province of Diyala.

A breakthrough preliminary deal reached on Thursday between the federal government and the autonomous Kurdish region on long-standing budget and oil disputes also raised the prospect of increased coordination in the fight against the IS.

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