On Tuesday, Iraq's state-run TV broadcaster reported that Iraqi security forces have started to break a five-month siege of the nation's largest oil refinery, Baiji, by Islamic State militants. A small contingent of Iraqi forces has kept central control of the Baiji refinery out of ISIS's hands, but the siege has halted operations, forcing Iraq's government to import gas at a huge cost.
"If God is willing, Baiji will be the main key to liberating each span of Iraq," Abdel Wahab al-Sa'adi said on TV. Saleh Jaber, a colonel in the Baiji refinery protection force, told Reuters the same thing: "The first Iraqi force, the anti-terrorism force called Mosul Battalion, entered Baiji refinery for the first time in five months." If confirmed, this is a pretty sizable loss for ISIS and a promising boost for Iraq's struggling U.S.-trained army.