Iraqi Forces Advance in Baiji
by VOA News June 07, 2015
Iraqi forces advanced in the oil refinery town of Baiji on Sunday in a bid to reclaim the area from Islamic State forces for the second time.
Military officials said government troops gained ground in northern city's center overnight. Baghdad took back Baiji once last year before losing it again to the militants.
IS fighters have targeted oil production sites in Iraq and Syria, using the revenue from sales to fund an expansionist agenda in both countries in the face of opposition from Iraqi military and paramilitary groups, Kurdish militias, Syrian rebels, and a daily U.S.-led coalition air campaign.
The U.S.-led warplanes overnight conducted 11 airstrikes in Syria, focusing largely on Kobani and the IS stronghold of Raqqa; 11 strikes in Iraq targeted IS positions primarily in northern Iraq, near Baiji, Sinjar, and Makhmur.
U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Germany on Monday to address efforts against IS militants. The effectiveness of both the international and Iraqi attempts to deter the militant group was called into question by senior officials in both countries in recent weeks after Islamic State forces last month seized Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced during the first day of the summit Sunday that Britain will send 125 more troops to Iraq to train local forces fighting the Islamic State group, bringing the total to 275 U.K. personnel. The country's warplanes are also among the coalition partners involved in the ongoing air campaign against the militants.
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