Sunni militants led by the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are battling for the city of Baquba, just 60 kilometers from Baghdad.
Last night the key city of Tal Afar reportedly fell. Large swaths of Iraq’s north have been overrun by ISIL forces, in their wake hundreds of thousands have been displaced, with mounting claims of mass murder and human rights abuses.
ISIL’s success has exploited popular Sunni discontent at a Shia dominated government. It has also increasingly divided a nation on sectarian grounds as Baghdad responds by calling Shia volunteers to arms.
Noting the situations severity the US will bolster its embassy security in the capital by sending hundreds of troops. It comes as the country’s largest oil refinery in Baiji has been forced to close, with foreign staff readily evacuated.