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Battle of Baiji
Part of Iraqi insurgency (2011–present) and
the Military intervention against ISIL and
the Salahuddin campaign (2014–15)
Date29 October–18 November 2014
(2 weeks and 6 days)
LocationBaiji, Saladin Governorate, Iraq
Result Anti-ISIL victory[6]
Territorial
changes
  • Iraqi Army takes control of Baiji on November 14[7]
  • Iraqi security forces enter the Baiji refinery on November 18[8]
Belligerents
Iraq Iraq
23x15px Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq
Hezbollah[1]
Iran Iran[2]
United States[3]
 United Kingdom[4]
Canada Canada[5]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Haidar al-Abadi
Iraq Khaled Obeidi
Iraq Saleh Jaber[9]
23x15px Akram al-Kabi[10]
Iran Qasem Soleimani[10]
United States Barack Obama
United Kingdom David Cameron
Canada Stephen Harper

Abu Ayman al-Iraqi (Head of Military Shura)[11]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (Deputy, Iraq) [12]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Nabil
(ISIL governor of the Saladin Governorate)
Units involved

Iraq Iraqi Armed Forces

Shia militias
Qods Force[10]

IRIAF[14]
 United States Air Force
 Royal Air Force
 Royal Canadian Air Force

Military of ISIL

  • Anti-Government Fighters
Strength
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown 100+[15]
197+ killed and 122 wounded[16]


Battle of Baiji (October–November 2014) was a battle that took place in Baiji, Iraq. It was one of Iraq's largest victory against ISIL and its allies, cutting off supplies from the ISIL-held city of Tikrit.[17] The taking of Baiji caused a bisection of ISIL's presence along the Tigris river as the city and oil refinery sit between Mosul and Tikrit, which are positioned to the north and south of Baiji respectively.

Background[edit | edit source]

On 11 June 2014, ISIL insurgents advanced into Baiji, seizing the main court house and police station and setting them on fire. The militants, who were travelling in a group of around 60 vehicles, also took control of the Baiji prison and freed all the inmates within. Local residents told members of the media that ISIL sent a group of local tribal chiefs ahead of them to convince the 250 guards at the oil plant to withdraw, while soldiers and police had been warned to leave as well.[18] Later in the day, militants reportedly retreated from Baiji either due to persuasion from local tribal leaders[19] or due to reinforcements from the Iraqi Army's Fourth Armored Division arriving in the city.[20] However, the next day it was confirmed ISIL was still in control of the town, except the refinery which was surrounded.[21]

On 18 June, ISIL attacked the refinery with mortars and machine guns.[22] An official from inside the refinery stated the militants had captured 75 percent of the facility, while a military spokesman claimed the attack had been repelled with 40 insurgents being killed.[23]

On 19 June, Iraqi government forces claimed to have regained full control of the Baiji oil refinery, after heavy fighting that left 100 militants dead.[24] An Iraqi witness who drove past the Baiji refinery told the Associated Press that ISIL had hung their banners from the watch towers and created checkpoints surrounding the facility, despite government claims of control.[25][26]

On 20 June, the town was still under complete control of the militants while the oil refinery was surrounded by ISIL forces and had once again come under attack.[27]

Iraqi security forces repelled several ISIL attempts to take the refinery between June and October 2014.[28][29]

The battle[edit | edit source]

On 29 October 2014, Iraqi government forces and allied militias advanced to within 2 km of the city of Baiji in an attempt to retake the city and break the siege of the refinery.[30]

On November 4, two British Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft flying in support of Iraqi ground forces, attacked and destroyed an Islamic State pickup trucks using a Brimstone missile.[4]

On November 9, Iraqi forces took control of parts of the city. Using helicopters to attack the militants, they entered the city from the south and the west, and took over the city center and the al-Tamim neighbourhood. This left ISIL forces stranded between the city and the refinery, and Iraqi forces advanced slowly due to car bombs attacks on the road.[31] It was reported that Iraqi forces had control of 40% of the city center. Many residents said that there were non-stop clashes in the area.[32]

On November 10, a British MQ-9 Reaper identified and attacked a group of ISIL militants which had been laying improvised explosive devices in the area. A single Hellfire air-to-surface missile was used to conduct the attack.[4]

On November 11, an ISIL suicide bomber killed 8 people in Baiji. The bombing occurred after a large crowd of people gathered around soldiers who had taken parts of the city center.[33]

On November 14, it was reported that the army had taken full control of the city, forcing ISIL forces to withdraw.

On 18 November, the anti-terrorism force Mosul Battalion entered Baiji refinery for the first time since June 2014. However, this could not be confirmed independently. If confirmed, it would be a major victory for Iraqi forces. State television said that they had entered the gates of the refinery.[34] Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Iraqi forces were in full control of Baiji. Iraqi state television said Baiji's recapture was a "Graveyard for ISIS".[35] Later, the US Department of State congratulated the Iraqi forces for retaking the country's largest oil refinery, confirming the Iraqi victory.[36]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

On December 19, clashes broke out in Baiji again, and on December 21, ISIL retook the city from Iraqi forces, with clashes in the area continuing.[37][38]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Iraq admits Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian RG fight alongside Iraqi security forces". http://www.iraqinews.com/arab-world-news/funeral-2-hezbollah-elements-killed-jurf-al-sakhar-baiji/. 
  2. "Iraq admits Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian RG fight alongside Iraqi security forces". http://www.iraqinews.com/arab-world-news/funeral-2-hezbollah-elements-killed-jurf-al-sakhar-baiji/. 
  3. "Operation Inherent Resolve Strike Updates". United States Department of Defense. January 26, 2015. http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2014/0814_iraq/Airstrikes6.html. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "RAF air strikes in Iraq: November 2014". gov.uk. 22 January 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-forces-air-strikes-in-iraq-monthly-list/raf-air-strikes-in-iraq-november-2014#november-6. 
  5. "ISIS Weapons Hit by CF-18 Jets in Northern Iraq". CBC News. 11 November 2014. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/isis-weapons-hit-by-cf-18-jets-in-northern-iraq-dnd-says-1.2831514. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  6. http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/op-ed-battle-of-baiji-the-turning-point-iraq-needs/article/415247
  7. "Iraq troops 'push Islamic State from oil town of Baiji'". 2014-11-14. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30052714. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  8. "Iraqi security forces enter Baiji refinery". 2014-11-18. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/18/Iraqi-security-forces-enter-Baiji-refinery.html. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  9. "Iraqi security forces enter Baiji refinery". 2014-11-18. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/18/Iraqi-security-forces-enter-Baiji-refinery.html. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Iraqi forces, Iranian-supported Shi'ite militias report success in Baiji
  11. "Military Skill and Terrorist Technique Fuel Success of ISIS". New York Times. 27 August 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/world/middleeast/army-know-how-seen-as-factor-in-isis-successes.html. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  12. http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-airstrikes-in-iraq-raise-questions-over-islamic-state-leader-1415540605
  13. "Iraqi security forces enter Baiji refinery: state TV". Nov 18, 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/18/us-iraq-refinery-idUSKCN0J20L420141118. 
  14. "BBC News - Iran jets bomb Islamic State targets in Iraq - Pentagon". BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30304723. 
  15. "17 ISIL terrorists killed in Baiji". Nov 14, 2014. http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/1-isil-terrorists-killed-in-beiji/. 
  16. "Iraq Forces Claim Major Victory As Bombers Strike in Baghdad; 97 Killed, 122 Wounded". Nov 14, 2014. http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2014/11/14/iraq-forces-claim-major-victory-as-bombers-strike-baghdad-97-killed-122-wounded/. 
  17. "Iraqi army says Tikrit next target after Baiji". Yahoo News. November 17, 2014. http://news.yahoo.com/iraqi-army-says-tikrit-next-target-baiji-165153657.html. 
  18. "Half a million flee unrest in Iraq's Mosul". Al Jazeera. 11 June 2014. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/tens-thousands-flee-unrest-iraq-mosul-201461175824711415.html. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  19. "Iraq army capitulates to Isis militants in 4 cities". Irish Times. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/iraq-army-capitulates-to-isis-militants-in-4-cities-1.1828973. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  20. "Iraqi city of Tikrit falls to ISIL fighters". Al Jazeera. 11 June 2014. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraqi-city-tikrit-falls-isil-fighters-2014611135333576799.html. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  21. Raseed, Ahmed; Coles, Isabella. "Obama warns of U.S. action as jihadists push on Baghdad". http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0EN0RV20140613?irpc=932. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  22. "Sunni militants attacked on Iraq`s largest oil refinery in Baiji". Patrika Group. http://www.patrika.com/news/sunni-militants-attacked-on-iraqs-largest-oil-refinery-in-baiji/1012976. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  23. "Iraq crisis: Battle grips vital Baiji oil refinery". BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27897648. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  24. "Iraq Forces 'Retake' Oil Refinery From ISIS". Sky News. 19 June 2014. http://news.sky.com/story/1285416/iraq-forces-retake-oil-refinery-from-isis. 
  25. "ISIS Militants' Black Banners Hang at Beiji Refinery: AP Witness". NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/iraq-turmoil/isis-militants-black-banners-hang-beiji-refinery-ap-witness-n135306. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  26. "Obama to unleash air strikes on ISIS: America prepares to target Islamic fanatics as Shiites rush to join 'peace brigades' to defend Iraq's holy sites". Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2662272/This-similar-Nazi-occupation-Europe-says-Iraq-chief-ISIS-burn-cigarettes-Sharia-law-Britain-warned-militants-target-UK.html. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  27. "Iraq crisis: Fierce battles for Baiji and Tal Afar". BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27936652. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  28. "Iraq forces battle rebels around oil refinery". Al Jazeera English. 2014-06-21. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraq-forces-battle-rebels-around-oil-refinery-2014620214843559974.html. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  29. "Iraqi troops repel attack on oil refinery; kill 37 militants". Xinhua. 2014-08-24. http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2014-08/24/content_33325034.htm. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  30. "Iraqi forces advance in new bid to end Baiji refinery siege". Reuters. 2014-10-29. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/29/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-idUSKBN0II0TP20141029. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  31. "Iraq troops 'seize Baiji oil refinery town centre' from IS". http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29974426. 
  32. "Iraqi military troops reach Baiji city center". Press TV. 2014-11-09. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/11/09/385367/iraqi-army-troops-reach-baiji-center/. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  33. Rasheed, Ahmed (November 11, 2014). "Suicide bomber kills eight in northern Iraqi city Baiji". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/11/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-idUSKCN0IV13Y20141111. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  34. "Kurds in Kobani seize Islamic State arms cache; Iraq touts progress in Baiji battle". The Globe and Mail. Nov 18, 2014. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/kurds-in-kobani-seize-islamic-state-arms-cache-iraq-touts-progress-in-baiji-battle/article21635253/. 
  35. "Iraq troops reach Baiji oil refinery besieged by IS". BBC. Nov 18, 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30103392. 
  36. "US hails Iraqi forces on recapture of Baiji refinery". Kuwait News Agency. 2014-11-21. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2409812&language=en. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  37. "Iraqi forces suffer losses in Baiji fighting as ISIS regains upper hand". Rudaw Media Network. 2014-12-23. http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/22122014. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  38. "IS militants recapture oil refinery town of Iraq's Baiji". Global Times. 2014-12-23. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/897886.shtml. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 34°56′00″N 43°29′00″E / 34.9333°N 43.4833°E / 34.9333; 43.4833

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