Iraqi forces retake Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in al-Qaim
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi troops on Friday announced they had taken control of the Husaybah border crossing between Iraq and Syria from the Islamic State (IS).
Iraqi forces on October 26 launched a large-scale military operation to retake the city of al-Qaim, the last IS stronghold in Iraq.
The area has been under the control of the jihadist group since 2014 after it overran Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, which was liberated in July 2017.
In a statement, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, who is also the Commander-in-chief of all Iraqi armed forces, congratulated the troops on storming al-Qaim and liberating the Husaybah border gate.
Abdulamir Rashid Yarallah, the Commander of the Anbar operation, stated on Friday that the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), took over the areas in the center of al-Karabla town, including Sheikh Ali, Hay Sana’a, and al-Nahza al-Gharbiya.
The liberation of the border crossing comes the same day as the Syrian government army announced gaining full control of Deir al-Zor province in western Syrian along the Iraqi border.
Iraqi and Kurdish officials agree that the liberation of IS-held areas in the country would help physically defeat the extremist group, but that their ideology would continue to exist if a political solution was not found.
Editing by Nadia Riva