Iraqi forces fire a rocket as a part of an operation to retake the Baiji oil refinery from ISIS. AFP file Photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — In a continuation of military operations in Salahaddin province against ISIS militants, Iraqi joint forces have captured a strategic area in the city of Baiji , the defense ministry announced.
“Iraqi forces are advancing in areas near the Tigris River and have been able to recapture Biaji village, a strategic area we can use as a key position to retake the whole town,” read the statement released Sunday.
According to the statement, Hashd al-shabi Shiite militias and tribal gunmen were backing the Iraqi security forces during the operation in Baiji.
Iraqi joint forces captured three strategic areas in the city of Baiji as well as three watch towers inside the Baiji oil refinery earlier in May.
On May 10, Iraqi security forces broke an Islamic State siege of the key Baiji oil refinery, Iraq’s largest refinery, following a joint assault with Shiite militia and tribal groups.
The claimed progress in Baiji comes just after ISIS militants took control of the Anbar city of Ramadi following intense fighting with government-backed troops there.