SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 20, 2015 - In the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Iraqi forces this weekend regained full control of the Beiji Oil Refinery and seized dozens of square miles in northern Iraq that had previously been occupied by the terrorist group, according to news releases from the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve.
After clearing the refinery of ISIL fighters, Iraqi Security Forces' reinforcements began arriving along with supplies, and work began to fortify the refinery's defenses, CJTF-OIR said.
In nine days coalition aircraft conducted 47 airstrikes in and around Beiji, while also providing reconnaissance support and advise and assist elements that enabled operations near the refinery.
ISIL "clearly used the opportunity to attack the oil refinery facility in order to bolster its online propaganda activities," said Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, CJTF-OIR commander. "ISF personnel have demonstrated great resolve and proven that the tactical momentum resides with them, not only in Beiji, but in many other locations throughout Iraq."
In northern Iraq Kurdish Security Forces quickly overcame ISIL resistance and secured large swaths of territory, in order to advance the line that divides ISIL and the KSF, according to a CJTF-OIR news release. In that operation KSF cleared 11 villages of ISIL, restoring security and enhancing stability in an area of approximately 25 square miles.
Coalition forces supported the operation with air strikes that resulted in the destruction of multiple ISIL weapons systems, mobility assets, fighting positions and fighters, CJTF-OIR said.
"The operation is yet another example demonstrating the commitment and ability of our partners to defeat (ISIL) forces on the battlefield in Iraq," said Terry. "The determined efforts of the (KSF), combined with coalition support, further denies (ISIL) key terrain and freedom of movement in northern Iraq."
In addition to conducting operations near the oil refinery and in northern Iraq, CTJF-OIR said that Iraqi forces are also conducting successful operations to clear ISIL elements in eastern Anbar and defending terrain and reinforcing forces within Ramadi.