A spokesman for U.S. Central Command (Centcom), which oversees American-led airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), told reporters that that the jihadist group was on the defensive and losing territory in Iraq. Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, a Centcom spokesman, briefed reporters last Friday on U.S. operations against ISIS, discounting the terrorist group’s ability to mount major attacks. “When you look across the entire battle space and look at where ISIL was last summer and look at where ISIL is today, [they] continue to be on the defensive in Iraq and they’re losing territory,” Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, a Centcom spokesman, told reporters.
“While initial reports may sometimes give the impression [ISIL is on the offensive], we see no evidence that they’re able to do so,” he added. Fast forward to a week later: some news reports are painting a different picture. Various news outlets are reporting that ISIS has seized most of the Baiji oil refinery, the largest in Iraq, located north of Baghdad in Salahuddin province. The extent to which ISIS controls the facility varies, an Iraq Oil Report article mentions that the terrorist group controls 80 percent of the compound while Spanish news agency EFE reports that 60 percent of the facility has fallen to the control of the jihadists. MORE