Iraq says troops recaptured key border crossing from ′Islamic State′ | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 17.06.2017
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Middle East

Iraq says troops recaptured key border crossing from 'Islamic State'

The Iraqi military has said its troops recaptured the al-Waleed border crossing with Syria from the so-called "Islamic State" militant group. The capture also removes IS fighters from the vicinity of a US base in Syria.

Sunni tribal fighters and the Iraqi army retook control of a major border crossing that had been held by self-styled "Islamic State" militants following an offensive in western Iraq, the military said in a statement on Saturday.

The al-Waleed crossing, located in the far west of Iraq, fell under IS control in 2015 and gave the militant group full control of the Iraq-Syria border. At the time, they vowed to get rid of the border as part of the group's goal to build a "caliphate."

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command added that the operation had been backed by fighters from local clans, border police and US-led coalition aircraft.

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

The recapture of the border crossing also means that fewer IS fighters are in the vicinity of a US base that is located on the other side of the border in Syria.

Al-Waleed is located close to Tanf - another strategic border crossing located on the main highway between Syria and Iraq - where US forces have been assisting Syrian rebels fighting to recapture territory on their side of the border from IS.US troops have been stationed at Tanf since last year, effectively blocking Iranian-backed forces that support Syrian President Bashar Assad from receiving heavy weapons from Iran via the Baghdad-Damascus highway.

rs/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)​​​​​​

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