VIDEO: Iraqi Firefighters Battle Fires in Qayyara Oil Wells

Sat Nov 5, 2016 13:30:49

Firefighters in the northern Iraqi town of Qayyara on Friday (November 4), continued their battle against flames at local oil fields after ISIS terrorists fleeing the region in August set oil wells in the area on fire.

The Iraqi military's recapture of Qayyara in August was significant advance to Mosul, the largest Iraqi city under ISIS (ISIL, IS, Daesh) control.

Whereas civilians in most other areas recaptured from ISIS fled ahead of or during government offensives the majority of Qayyara's roughly 20,000 residents have remained.

But the burning fires affect their lives and add to the suffering.

After ISIS blew up pipelines and wells oil spilled into residential areas.

Children could be seen playing in the black reflective pools of oil in the streets of the city and many said they feared the oil could spill into the Tigris river.

The scorched earth tactics employed by retreating ISIS members has also had a huge impact on the economic situation and jobs of the local people.

Although some of the oil fires are still ablaze, the government efforts to put most of them have been successful.

Majeed Khalaf, an employee of the Qayyara refinery, said he was looking forward to resuming his job.

"Once the army and security forces freed the area, we came here because we wanted to work.

Now the situation is better, we are working at ease and God willing we will be able to conquer the fire in this well, it might take 10-15 days, not too long," he said.

The loss of Qayyara dealt a blow to ISIS, which had extracted oil from some 60 wells and sold it to help finance its activities.

The militants used to ship at least 50 tanker truckloads a day from Qayyara and nearby Najma oil fields to neighboring Syria.


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