SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 22, 2015 —
Iraqi security forces and federal police, enabled by the coalition, have successfully cleared and established a ground route into the Beiji oil refinery, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
The Beiji oil refinery has been an ongoing target for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists, and the area around the refinery has been contested for several months, officials said.
Reinforcement and resupply of the Iraqi forces within the refinery is ongoing, officials said. Ground forces, supported by coalition airstrikes, reconnaissance, and advise and assist elements, maneuvered to clear through the area, establishing route security and reclaiming key terrain.
‘Steady, Measured Progress’ Made Against ISIL
“In the past 72 hours, we have seen the [Iraqi security forces] make steady, measured progress in regaining some of the areas leading to the Beiji oil refinery despite the significant [ISIL] resistance in the form of [improvised explosive devices], suicide vehicle borne IEDs, as well as heavy weapon and rocket fire attacks,” said Marine Corps Brig. Gen Thomas Weidley, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve chief of staff.
Weidley added, “In spite of the isolated nature of where the [Iraqi security forces] have been operating and the constant threat from [ISIL], creating a safe route to the refinery will allow supplies and reinforcements to arrive. This will assist security forces in clearing and securing contested areas in and around the refinery.”
Since the liberation of Tikrit, ISIL has increased its attempts to force the withdrawal of the Iraqi security forces at the refinery and surrounding areas, officials said.