Sunni insurgents make Iraq gains as army flees Mosul
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 02:22
June 11 - Sunni insurgents extend their control over Iraq's second biggest city, Mosul, forcing the the army to effectively flee the city. Mana Rabiee reports.
▲ Hide Transcript
▶ View Transcript
Iraqi security forces in the north patrol an area near Kirkuk.
They fire their weapons as plumes of smoke from burning cars billow in the distance.
They've been fighting Sunni insurgents from an Al Qaeda splinter group called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
The militants took control on Tuesday of nearby Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city.
On Wednesday, their control of the city extended further south, where the country's biggest oil refinery lies.
Video posted online that Reuters can't verify purports to show large fires burning in the refinery town of Baiji.
This is said to be inside a local police station, now abandoned.
Wednesday's advance by ISIL is a devastating show of strength against the Shiite-led government.
In his weekly address, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called the fall of Mosul a conspiracy designed by outside forces, but refused to elaborate.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI PRIME MINISTER NURI AL-MALIKI, SAYING:
"I am saying a 'conspiracy' because the numbers of al-Qaeda and ISIL forces could not have confronted the army and police forces that were located there. But what has happened? And how have the military units collapsed?"
In four days of fighting, some half a million Iraqis have fled the city.
That's about one in four area residents.
Bodies of soldiers and policemen litter the streets.
Some of them mutilated.
In Greece, Iraq's Foreign Minister acknowledged the security set back but said the government will regain control.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER, HOSHYAR ZEBARI, SAYING:
"It was somehow dramatic really for a large city like Mosul to fall and for the security forces to be melted, but I am confident, and i have assured the ministers and my colleagues that we can push back on the terrorists."
But on the ground, that confidence wasn't shared by the army.
A convoy of some 50 military vehicles withdrew from Mosul on Wednesday and headed for the capital, Baghdad.
The U.S., which pulled its troops out more than two years ago, has pledged to help Iraq push back against the militants.
The government of Nouri al Maliki, meanwhile, has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency in Iraq.
Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code