IS Attack Iraqi Troops Near Baiji Refinery

IS Attack Iraqi Troops Near Baiji RefineryIS Attack Iraqi Troops Near Baiji Refinery

IS militants attacked government forces and their militia allies on Saturday, killing 11 near the city of Baiji as part of the battle for control of Iraq’s biggest refinery, army and police sources said.

Four suicide bombers in vehicles packed with explosives hit security forces and the local headquarters of the Shia militias in the area of al-Hijjaj, 10 km to the south of Baiji, near the refinery, sources at the nearby Tikrit security operations command said, Reuters reported.

They include areas around Baiji Refinery, north of Baghdad, and the city of Ramadi west of the capital, seized last month by IS insurgents. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama ordered the deployment of 450 more US troops to Anbar to advise and assist fragile Iraqi forces being built up to retake territory lost to IS. Unlike its predecessor in Iraq Al-Qaeda, the group holds territory it captures. It now controls about a third of Iraq in the north and the west, as well as large parts of neighboring Syria.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said it began an advance toward an IS-held town at the Turkish border on Saturday, thrusting deeper into the extremists’ stronghold of Raqqa Province.

Redur Xelil, the YPG spokesman, said the militia group, fighting alongside smaller Syrian groups, had begun the move toward Tel Abyad after encircling the IS-seized town of Suluk 20 km to the southeast.

The advance raises the prospect of a battle at the Turkish border between the well-organized YPG militia and IS. Fighting near the border has already forced more than 13,000 people to cross into Turkey from Syria. Some 1,500 more are waiting to cross.