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Iraq's PM OKs Opening Border-Crossing With Syria

Iraq's PM OKs Opening Border-Crossing With Syria

Saturday, 28 September, 2019 - 07:30
Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) advance towards the city of Al-Qaim, Iraq November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has approved the reopening on Monday of the Qaim border-crossing with Syria, state news agency INA said, the latest sign of normalization between Baghdad and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.


The crossing will be reopened for travelers and trade, INA reported on Friday, citing Iraq’s border agency chief.


The western Anbar province town of Qaim, 300 km (185 miles) west of Baghdad, was recaptured from ISIS in November 2017 and was the group’s last bastion in Iraq to fall.


It borders the Syrian town of Albu Kamal, which was also an ISIS stronghold. The towns lie on a strategic supply route and the crossing between them had only been open for government or military traffic.


The ISIS group in 2014 seized vast swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria, declaring a caliphate across both countries. Iraq declared victory over the group in 2017 and it lost its last territory in Syria earlier this year.


Iraq’s government recently called for the reinstatement of Syria’s membership of the Arab League, which was suspended in 2011 over its crackdown on protesters at the start of the civil war.


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