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Iraqi forces suffer losses in Baiji fighting as ISIS regains upper hand

By Rudaw 22/12/2014
The strategic Baiji oil refinery.  AFP photo.
The strategic Baiji oil refinery. AFP photo.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Islamic State (ISIS) regained control over the town of Baiji in Iraq’s Salahaddin province after days of fierce fighting in which Iraqi forces suffered heavy losses, security sources said.

"ISIS militants launched a violent attack on Baiji neighborhoods that had been seized by Iraqi forces earlier, and fierce clashes took place in the past two days," said a security source Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Iraqi forces suffered heavy losses in lives and equipment, as they were forced to pull out of those neighborhoods," he added.

Last month, Iraqi security forces supported by the Shiite militias were able to clear the town from ISIS, after weeks of heavy clashes.

The defeat of the Iraqi security forces in Baiji comes as the Kurdish forces continue their battlefield victories against ISIS in the north of the country.

According to the source, the main roads to the Speicher military base and Baiji refinery are still under Iraqi Army control, with battles raging along the road.

He explained that Iraqi forces are fighting to keep control of the road because it is vital for supplying reinforcements for the Baiji refinery.

The source noted that ISIS also had suffered heavy losses, with at least two prominent leaders, Athir Masha'al Hamad and Wasfa Makhlaf Majul Abu Ubaidi, killed in the fighting.


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"Iraqi Lion" ,Hidden | 22/12/2014
There was one who called himself "Iraqi Lion",where is he now hidind ?.He used to make stupid comments and boasted arrogance and menaced the Kurds.It is better for himmnot to come out his his den.
Rudaw the red nose reindeer | 22/12/2014
What is is going on with the the Iraqi army?. To busy dancing over their earlier victory to build defensive positions and over reliant on the US unlike the thoughtful fierce warriors of the Kurds maybe its time you sent some 1000 Peshmerga to train he Iraq army!!!. Happy Xmas from UK , Biji Kurditan Brave Warriors.
Help the Yezidis | 22/12/2014
The difference between the Iraqi forces and the Peshmergas is that the Iraqi forces are noncoherent although they are good equipped and have enough ammunition. Do they have the same high moral and mentality as the Peshmergas who are still fighting without good helmet and boots (see the pictures of Rudaw: generals take care of the KRG_(!)-uniforms and personal protections. And on photos you can see other basic mistakes...). If I was a Kurd and member of the Iraqi force I would immediately quit it and become a member of the Peshmergas even if I would loose my salary, have to move to the KRG and would loose my luxurious life.
M Gonzales
M Gonzales | 22/12/2014
Perhaps you can help your self's and the Iraqi army at the same time. Maybe after the Sinjar operation is finished and reinforced you could shift some of those 8000 troops too Kirkuk and go on the offensive their. I know the knee jerk reaction is to not go past your Kurdish borders but so long as Hawija is in ISIS hands and the road from Mosul to Baiji is is open Kirkuk will never be 100% safe and do you really want to wait for the Iraqi Army to liberate Hawija on it's own? Besides, any land outside of Kurdistan can be used as bargaining chips later when you go for your independence.
Dutchman | 22/12/2014
That's bad news. It would have been nice if the Iraqi could go further north to meet the Peshmerga. The Iraqi army and also Shia militias are better neighbours than ISIS.

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