Iraq captures border crossing to Syria from IS


Iraqi forces have seized from ISIL terrorists one of the official border crossings between the country and Syria, thus choking a key supply line feeding the Takfiri terrorist group.

Al-Waleed fell to ISIS group in 2015, giving the militants full control of the Iraq-Syria border, which they vowed to erase as part of their ambition to build a caliphate.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched an offensive to capture Raqqa from the extremists on June 6, under the cover of airstrikes by the US -led coalition.

The military statement did not comment on casualty figures or say when the operation began.

The capture of al-Waleed swept ID fighters from the vicinity of a U.S. base located on the other side of the border, in Syrian territory.

Al-Waleed is close to Tanf, a strategic Syrian highway border crossing with Iraq.

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The involvement of Iraqi Sunni tribal fighters in the operation to dislodge the militants is another indication that Iran will not be allowed to use the highway.

Saturday's push by Iraqi troops came almost three weeks after Iraq's paramilitary forces - mostly Shiite fighters with close ties to Iran referred to as the Popular Mobilization Forces - reached the Syrian border in northeastern Iraq.

In Mosul, where a US-backed offensive against ISIS on Saturday entered its ninth month, the militants have been squeezed into an enclave on the western bank of the Tigris river.

IS also controls territory along the border with Syria and urban pockets west and south of Mosul. The agreement covers four zones in Syria where the rebels are fighting pro-government forces.

About 100,000 civilians remain trapped in harrowing conditions behind IS lines in Mosul, with little food, water and medicine and limited access to hospitals, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday. The Iraqi side is still held by IS.

About 800,000 people, more than a third of the pre-war population of the northern Iraqi city, have fled, seeking refuge with friends and relatives or in camps.