ISIS's Black Flags Fly Over Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery, But Government Still Holds Some Ground

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 19 2014 10:50 AM

ISIS's Black Flags Fly Over Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery, But Government Still Holds Some Ground

rtr23pgn
The refinery in 2009.

REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that ISIS rebels in Iraq had seized the country's largest oil refinery. A military spokesperson denied that the facility had been overrun, and some media outlets reported only that it had been attacked. Here's the news today:

Sunni militants hung their black banners on watchtowers at Iraq's largest oil refinery, a witness said Thursday, suggesting an ever-increasing stranglehold on the vital facility by insurgents who have seized vast territories across the country's north.
Advertisement

That's from an Associated Press report. And here's a picture from ISIS's social media, which the AP says it's authenticated, of militants arriving at the facility, which is in the city of Baiji:

screen_shot_20140619_at_10.26.23_am

via AP

Eyewitnesses who drove by the plant, however, said the militants’ black flags were still flying inside. Local workers in the refinery who had escaped the fighting said militants still controlled part of the grounds, but government forces were also inside the sprawling facility and controlled slightly more than half the complex.

More to come on this story, it seems.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

  Slate Plus
Slate Archives
Nov. 26 2014 12:36 PM Slate Voice: “If It Happened There,” Thanksgiving Edition Josh Keating reads his piece on America’s annual festival pilgrimage.