Fall of Baiji

The Fall of Baiji was a battle that took place in and around Baiji, Iraq in June 2014. It was fought between Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces and those of the Iraqi government. Its first stage included clashes in the city from 11 to 18 June. The second stage was fighting over the control of Baiji oil refinery from 18 to 21 June. ISIL captured both the town and the refinery. On 19 June 2014, the Iraqi Army retook the a refinery in a counter-attack. Fighting continued in Baiji until October 2014, when government forces finally established control, which they have maintained since.

Fall of Baiji
Part of Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017) and the Salahuddin campaign
Date11 June 2014 – 21 June 2014[1]
(1 week and 3 days)

ISIL victory

  • Capturing of Baiji by ISIL.
  • ISIL capture of Baiji oil refinery.
  • Recapture of Baiji oil refinery by the Iraqi Army.
 Iraq  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Nouri al-Maliki Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Units involved
Iraqi Armed Forces Military of ISIL
Casualties and losses
36 killed 140 killed
(claimed by the government)


On 4 June 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its allies attacked Mosul launching their northern Iraq offensive. The following day, they started the Salahuddin campaign in Saladin. ISIL and its allies captured Mosul on 10 June 2014. after a six-day battle. When the city fell, there were reports that the group was advancing from Mosul to Kirkuk. After capturing the city, the group freed nearly 1,000 prisoners. On 11 June, ISIL and its allies also started the siege of Amirli.

The Battle

On 11 June, around 60 ISIL vehicles entered the city of Baiji. They set the main court house and police station on fire. They also took control of Baiji prison and freed all 2,400 inmates. Later that day, the militants reportedly retreated from Baiji, before the Iraqi Army's Fourth Armored Division arrived in the city, allegedly due to persuasion from local tribal leaders.[2] However, the next day it was confirmed ISIL was still in control of the town.[3][4][5][6]

On 18 June, ISIL attacked the oil refinery near Baiji. An official inside the refinery stated the militants had captured 75 percent of the facility, while a military spokesman claimed the attack had been repelled, with 40 militants killed.[7][8][9] On 19 June, Iraqi government forces launched an counter-attack and claimed to have regained full control of the oil refinery after heavy fighting that left 100 militants dead.[10] ISIL created watchtowers and checkpoints within Baiji.[11] On 20 June 2014, ISIL forces surrounded the refinery and attacked it for a second time, but failed to capture it.[12] They launched a third attack on 21 June, killing 36 Iraqi soldiers, but failed to recapture the refinery.[13]


In the months following the battle, Iraq and ISIL continued fighting in the area. Control of Baiji switched between the two sides. The Iraqi government and the Popular Mobilization Forces retook Baiji in October 2015. Since then, the city has been under Iraqi control but has faced periodic ISIL attacks. The city's infrastructure has been severely damaged by the prolonged fighting.[14]


  1. "Iraq crisis: Key oil refinery 'seized by rebels'". BBC News. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  2. "Half a million flee unrest in Iraq's Mosul". Al Jazeera. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  3. "Al-Qaeda splinter group captures Iraqi oil refinery town". CBC News. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  4. "Iraq army capitulates to Isis militants in 4 cities". Irish Times. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  5. "Iraqi city of Tikrit falls to ISIL fighters". Al Jazeera. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  6. Raseed, Ahmed; Coles, Isabella (13 June 2014). "Obama warns of U.S. action as jihadists push on Baghdad". Reuters. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  7. "Extremists attack Iraq's biggest oil refinery". nytimes. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  8. "Sunni militants attacked on Iraq`s largest oil refinery in Baiji". Patrika Group. Archived from the original on 18 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  9. "Iraq crisis: Battle grips vital Baiji oil refinery". BBC News. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  10. "Iraq Forces 'Retake' Oil Refinery From ISIS". Sky News. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  11. "ISIS Militants' Black Banners Hang at Beiji Refinery: AP Witness". NBC News. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  12. "Iraq crisis: Fierce battles for Baiji and Tal Afar". BBC News. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  13. "Iraq forces battle rebels around oil refinery". Al Jazeera English. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  14. Derzsi-Horváth, András; Schulz, Mario; Nasser, Hana. "Iraq after ISIL: Baiji". Global Public Policy Institute. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
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