Islamic State assaults Baiji oil refinery

The Islamic State has launched multiple suicide assaults in an effort to retake Iraq’s largest oil refinery, in Baiji in Salahaddin province. While it has conducted numerous attacks on the refinery in the past, mainly utilizing mortars, the jihadist group has stepped up the resources used in the latest round of operations.

According to the National Iraqi News Agency, the Islamic State utilized at least eight suicide car bombs in a single day during its latest assault. In previous days, the Islamic State deployed several additional suicide car bombs to attack Iraqi military positions in and around the refinery.

Shafaq News reported that “terrorists detonated three car bombs on Tuesday night before they [blew] up tankers at dawn on Wednesday, led by a suicide bomber.” Joel Wing of Musings on Iraq noted on Twitter that it was the second day of suicide attacks on the refinery.

This new assault comes as US and coalition airstrikes have begun to target Islamic State-held oil assets inside Syria. The BBC notes: “The raids, carried out by US, Saudi and UAE aircraft, targeted 12 refineries in Syria on a third night of air strikes against the militants.” US Central Command has also released video showcasing airstrikes on “Jeribe West Modular Refinery” in Syria.

The Islamic State has been in control of Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery in the past. Since June, Iraqi troops and Islamic State forces have battled for control of the facility.

Below are pictures reportedly taken outside of Baiji that show dark smoke billowing from the refinery.



View Iraqi and Syrian Towns and Cities seized by the Islamic State and its allies in a larger map

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • blert says:

    Al Baghdadi can see the writing: he can’t hide his modular refineries, and he’s losing them.
    (BTW, such units would be derisively termed ‘teapots’ by those in the petroleum business. They are actually pure distilleries. They don’t have the capability of transmuting long chain hydrocarbons into motor fuels. They were the best the Assad regime could get. No serious oil company would trade with Assad. He had to deal with third string players and totally out-dated technology.)
    This particular refinery is a seriously large asset, which will be painful for Baghdad to destroy. (or see destroyed)
    At this tempo, ISIS will soon be entirely out of gas. Come this Winter, Syrians will really be chilling.
    John D Rockefeller made his super fortune over one guiding principle: petroleum products HAVE to be refined to consistent standards, hence his brand name: Standard Oil.
    As the Imperial Japanese Navy learned to their cost, you don’t dare burn unrefined crude oil as it comes out of the ground. At some point, the volatile (gasoline) fraction vaporizes most inconveniently — and simply explodes!
    Hard as it is to believe, the refining industry was started to remove gasoline from crude oil. All of which is a long way around to: without his modular refineries, al Baghdadi can’t even provide safe heating fuels this Winter.
    It does strike one as peculiar that Assad’s air force never targeted al Baghdadi’s ‘fuel pumps.’
    [ Until Ford made cars affordable, Rockefeller consumed his gasoline right at the refinery – in stationary gasoline engines — powering his process flows. His only alternative was the flare it into the sky!
    The Model T flipped the script. A market for gasoline had been created — and it was epic! Even today, the only safe place to burn gasoline is inside a motor. (Otto/Brayton cycles) Everywhere else, it’s pure trouble.]

  • foxmulder says:

    Pretty soon, these idiots will run out of virgins.

  • M3fd2002 says:

    I believe they are not trying to capture the refinery, but destroy it. They know they wont be able to hold it with western air assets in the theater. Side note: If the west is targeting the mini refineries in syria, it will also impact the assad regime, which is directly trading with the Islamic State for fuel, not a bad strategy.

  • blert says:

    No-one is publishing the facts…
    But it would make more sense if Assad was getting ALL of his refined products by way of Putin.
    Then Assad, takes a ‘haircut’ on crude oil sales that transit to Europe. It’s a pretty ‘stiff haircut’ as from what little I’ve seen in print, ISIS is forced to sell at a horrific discount.
    Assad is able to pull this off because European importers are (in most cases) prohibited from purchasing ‘ISIS oil’ while ‘Assad’s oil’ has been acceptable all along.
    The fact that the crude is actually transiting to the Med by way of a Turkish pipeline is irrelevant.
    It’s also irrelevant that Erdogan HATES Assad and is THE patron of ISIS. ISIS is getting all of its food via Turkey. So Syrian oil exports turn into Turkish food imports.
    Erdogan is in a terrible economic fix. He NEEDS those food exports. These are not foods that are produced in Turkey — rather they are foodstuffs that are imported and marked up. Anatolia is not a breadbasket nation — not by a long shot.
    In sum: Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran have absolute basket-case economies. They are also dependent upon imported food. (It’s their exploding populations.)

  • Viator says:

    “Fierce fighting has been reported on the outskirts of Baghdad where ISIS militants are attempting to seize control of the Iraqi capital – 07:24 EST, 29 September 2014
    “Reports that ISIS militants are now just one mile from Baghdad came from the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East”
    “The Islamic State are now less than 2km away from entering Baghdad. They said it could never happen and now it almost has.”


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