Islamic State reportedly seizes all of the Al Waleed border crossing in Iraq

Just days after capturing the Syrian side of the Al Waleed border crossing in Homs province, the Islamic State now controls the Iraqi side of the border crossing.

Quoting an Iraqi official, AFP reported that “Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State) early this morning took control of the Al Waleed post on the border between Iraq and Syria after the withdrawal of the army and the Iraqi border police.” The official went on to say that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) personnel withdrew to the Trebil border crossing with Jordan. Another Iraqi official told the French news agency that “there was no military support for the security forces and there weren’t enough of them to protect the crossing.” The crossing was also reportedly captured after the Islamic State launched two suicide bombings on the complex.

With the capturing of Al Waleed, the governments of Syria and Iraq have lost all control of the border crossings between the two countries. The Islamic State also controls the Albu Kamal/Al Qaim crossing in Syria’s Deir al Zour and Iraq’s Anbar province, while the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) control the al Yarobiyyi/Rabia crossing with Syria’s Al Hasakah and Iraq’s Ninewa provinces. The Iraqi military was said to have been sending reinforcements to the Iraqi side of the border in recent days, but it is unclear if those troops made it to the crossing in time or are still on the way.

The Al Walid border crossing was previously captured by the Islamic State along with the nearby Trebil border crossing with Jordan on June 22, 2014. The two crossings were subsequently retaken by the Iraqi military just days later.

However, the two locations remained a target for the jihadist group. On Nov. 25, the Islamic State launched a suicide attack on the Trebil crossing, killing or wounding at least six Iraqi Army personnel. On Dec. 23, the Islamic State attacked the Al Waleed crossing, killing five members of the Iraqi Border Police. The jihadist group subsequently released photographs from the battle. The Iraqi government still maintains control over the Trebil crossing.

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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8 Comments

  • Rasputin says:

    “Degrade and destroy.”

  • mike merlo says:

    great news. For all the talk about the USA & the ‘Ghosts’ of Vietnam it is the Iranians that are now entangled in a Vietnam style imbroglio. Am looking forward to ISIS/ISIL rendering Baghdad International Airport unusable further stretching the Iranians capacity & ability to support what they’ve now slobbed themselves into.

  • AndyFMF says:

    This means that the passport office, passport stamps, computer database of banned travelers, the frontier bank, and the tax office are firmly in the hands of ISIS. Additionally, the crossing of foodstuffs into Baghdad has been completely cut off. This used to be a major source of tax revenue (outbound oil/inbound reconstruction materials) and food.

    The hotel will serve as a phenomenal COC. It is the high ground for miles and controls several local villages. The Border Patrol (aka Desert Wolves) forts, if they have not already fallen, will go quickly.

  • mike merlo says:

    “The hotel will serve as a phenomenal COC.” Does ‘it’ have a pool? A spa? Room Service? Valet Service? Do I need a reservation or can I just ‘walk in?’ Am also looking forward to the recently opened 5 Star ‘Digs’ in Mosul!

    • Oberron says:

      Sorry Mike, but the terms of the stay are three days paradise with no girls, then you have to drive this big monstrosity full of explosives into an HQ and collect your reward in Jannah. 😉

      On a serious note:

      //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Module:Syrian_and_Iraqi_insurgency_detailed_map/doc

      Alright it looks like IS is moving to secure the Southern Mountain Range of Palmyra, and took a string of villages in the central corridor.

      Possibilities:

      1. They are moving to isolate Tiyas Airbase in a pincer movement and force Assad to weigh support to it rather than Deir Ezzor enabling them to destroy the Deir Ezzor Pocket.

      2. IS may be trying to break into the Dumayr Plains to link up with its Suweida Pocket which has been taking a bunch of ground lately.

      3. This is all a big strategic feint and they’ll surprise us.

      • mike merlo says:

        @ Oberron

        I’ve read/heard from 3 different sources that Assad is evacuating Deir ez-Zor. I guess its no longer tenable. I wonder how much the Iranians & the Russians were involved in the decision.

        I think everything ISIS/ISIL does is “a big strategic feint.” IMO one of the variables that has made them so effective is their capacity to adjust a Battle Plan on the ‘fly.’ ISIS/ISIL Military hierarchy obviously gives every Operation/Mission a very thorough going over. Factoring just about every possible scenario & then some. Its like watching Gale Sayers or Barry Sanders run a football. The defense has them penned in having already anticipated the play & Sayers or Sanders throws a few moves & gain positive yardage while anybody else would have been nailed for a loss(negative).

        What they’ve done in response to the Air Campaign that’s been targeting them is most impressive. Its my understanding that the head of ISIS/ISIL’s Military Wing is an X-Saddam Military Officer with experience as a Air Defense Intelligence Officer. TLWJ has some info on the guy. ISIS/ISIL obviously has adopted The Dispersion Strategy & have become quite proficient at it. They probably have some manuals on Nuclear Warfare in their Military Library instructing how one should conduct ones Forces in a Nuclear Combat Zone. Strategy & Tactics employed are basically pretty similar when ones opponent has the Air Advantage. This tactic of VBIEDing a target/locale then swarming it then dispersing or holding the ground or not even following up is pretty cool. I look forward to them employing the Tactic against Baghdad.

        I don’t know if I’m “surprised” but I’m pretty impressed. Though Saddam is dead his threat of waging an Insurgency is certainly alive & well

  • codejnkie says:

    “The hotel will serve as a phenomenal COC.” Could this mean “Change of Command?”
    Could FMF be referring to “It is the high ground for miles and controls several local villages.” as an excellent area that is naturally high ground? and controls resources for most likely several kilometers? Me thinks so.
    Aside from the dumbassery. I was under the impression control of the border was already compromised. This just goes to show even with the input from those who have been there and know firsthand the layout of the areas in question. There are still reams of data not in possession of the public. A good thing IMO. I expect there will be more losses reported in the near future. This war is a messy business and there will be many more gains and losses in the near and distant future. From some of the video of the battle at Ramadi (yes there was a battle) IS used bulldozers strapped with C4 to punch a whole through the front line. Where were the grenade launchers? Also reports of low ammunition causes me to further question what is going on in the area of supplies and logistics. that issue must be solved ASAP. IMO.

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