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BBC confirms largest Iraqi oil refinery seized by rebels

24 June 2014

Sunni rebels in Iraq say they have fully captured the country's main oil refinery at Baiji, 200 km north of Baghdad, according to a report from the BBC. Citing a ‘reliable source’, the BBC said Iraqi government forces made a ceasefire pact with ISIS rebels, who have besieged the refinery for the past 10 days, and were evacuated to Irbil in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq after laying down their weapons.

Insurgents, spearheaded by Islamists, have overrun a swathe of territory in the north and west of Iraq including the second-biggest city, Mosul. They are bearing down on a vital dam near Haditha on the Euphrates and have captured all border crossings to Syria and Jordan.

The Baiji refinery, in Salahuddin province, supplies a third of Iraq's refined fuel and the battle has already led to petrol rationing in areas still under Iraqi government control. A rebel spokesman said the complex would now be handed over to local tribes to administer, despite the Iraqi government’s insistence it still controls the plant.

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