Iraqi forces besieged inside the country’s largest oil refinery are running low on food and pleading for reinforcements to save them from Islamic State militants who have advanced deep into the compound in the past week.

The insurgents now hold large sections of the sprawling Baiji refinery complex in northern Iraq where some 200 policemen, soldiers and elite special forces are holding out.

“We are surrounded by Daesh from all sides,” said a policeman called Mohanad, speaking via telephone from the refinery where his unit has taken up defensive positions in a guest house on the eastern side of the complex. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL in English. […]