Islamic State seizes Syrian side of Al Waleed border crossing with Iraq

After taking the ancient city of Palmyra (known in Arabic as Tadmur), the Islamic State has reportedly seized the Syrian side of the Al Waleed border crossing with Iraq. The Syrian side of the crossing is known as Al Tanf.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the regime forces stationed at the crossing withdrew in the face of the Islamic State advance. As SOHR notes, with the capture of the crossing, the Syrian regime has lost control of all crossings with Iraq. The Islamic State also controls the Albu Kamal crossing in Deir al Zour, while the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) control the al Yarobiyyi crossing in Syria’s al Hasakah province.

As a result of the capture, the Iraqi military is said to be sending reinforcements to the Iraqi side of the border. An Iraqi official was quoted in Al Masalah as saying, “The Iraqi Security Forces are in control of the Al Waleed border crossing between Iraq and Syria, but they are not sufficient enough to protect the crossing.”┬áThe Al Walid border crossing was 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, 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 Security Forces remain in control of the Trebil crossing and the Iraqi side of the Al Waleed crossing.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Oberron says:

    I heard the al-Walid Crossing has now fallen after a two pronged attack. Can you confirm it?

    Twitter is abuzz with Pro-IS and pro-Oppossition tweeters saying IS took Sheikh Najjar Industrial City as well in Aleppo, and is marching on Sha’er and on the Phosphate Mines.

    If half of what I’m seeing is actually true, I think we are seeing a General Regime Collapse in Eastern and Southern Homs Province and around Aleppo.

    If so, the question then:

    1. Is IS going to go for broke and attempt to take Damascus? They hold a few crossroads and and blocking positions outside the city already and a foot hold a few kilometers from Assad’s residence itself.

    2. Are they going to put Tiyas Airbase under siege and then clear Deir Ezzor? The Regime can’t afford to lose either, but can’t supply both at the same time if both are under effective siege. Recently IS shelled Shayrat Airbase with Grads, so this may be the next offensive or it may be a feint.

    3. Will IS weigh support to Anbar? Possible, but clearing Deir Ezzor first would greatly aid that allowing them to place back in action the Raqqah to Al-Qaim Rail Road, which even if subjected to air attack, would still greatly ease logistics and complemented by barges, gives them a massive logistical boost and render Haditha indefensible.

    4. Will IS go after YPG again? Despite tactical gains, YPG is largely a spent force that can barely advance even with massive US and SAA support (Of which SAA provides the bulk) and if IS pushes it, they simply can’t compete against the firepower IS brings to the table if they really mass forces to it. IS for its part is only feeding enough troops to hold jump off points and the Lower Khabour Valley, and on the Kobane front, just enough to keep YPG from Tel Abyad and Tishrin.

  • Oberron says:

    IS just released a video from Sukhna showing its campaign. SITE probably has it translated right now, so you guys can peruse it and break it down for us readers.


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