The Iraqi army and Sunni tribal fighters have captured the al-Waleed border crossing into Syria from the Islamic State, an Iraqi military statement said on Saturday. The US and Iraqi air forces took part in the operation.
DEBKAfile’s military sources rate this operation of high importance because: –
1. It provides hinterland in Iraq for the US-led coalition-held Tanf border crossing in the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle, which controls the Baghdad-Damascus highway.
2. The Iraqi force jumped the gun on the Syrian-pro-Iranian militia-Hizballah columns that was pushing towrds the Waleed crossing.
3. It exposed Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi’s Janus stance in the contest for control of this border. Iraqi ground and air units have supported the Iran-directed Syrian force’s takeover of crossings in the border’s northern Syrian section, whereas in the south, Iraqi forces have now given support to the US-led garrison standing in Iran’s path at Al-Tanf.