Baiji refinery nearly falls to insurgents

A small contingent of elite counter-terrorism forces were losing their grip on Iraq's largest refinery after hundreds of Iraqi Army soldiers fled.
A soldier stands guard over the Baiji refinery. (AYMAN OGHANNA/Iraq Oil Report)

ERBIL - By Tuesday evening, around 50 members of an elite Iraqi counter-terrorism unit were the last men standing in defense of Iraq's largest oil refinery.

More than 400 members of the Iraqi Army's 37th Brigade, tasked with defending the Baiji refinery, had fled the facility after striking a deal with local tribes on Monday night, according to a dozen soldiers who escaped and several refinery workers, as well as officials from Iraq's state-run North Oil Company (NOC).

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