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    Iraqi forces capture border crossing to Syria from Daesh

    BEIRUT: Iraqi forces captured Saturday a border crossing point to Syria from Daesh, increasing pressure on the extremists and getting closer to meeting up with Syrian troops and their allies who reached the border earlier this month for the first time in years.

    Tribal forces and border police, supported by Iraqi and US-led coalition aircraft, took part in the operation to take Al-Waleed crossing, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

    Al-Waleed, in the far west of Iraq, fell to Daesh in 2015, giving the militants full control of the Iraq-Syria border, which they vowed to erase as part of their ambition to build their caliphate.

    Saturday’s push by Iraqi troops came nearly three weeks after Iraq’s paramilitary forces — mostly Shiite fighters with close ties to Iran referred to as the Popular Mobilization Forces — reached the Syrian border in northeastern Iraq.

    US troops and Syrian opposition fighters control Al-Tanf area on the other side from Al-Waleed. Earlier this month, Iranian-sponsored pro-Syrian regime forces outflanked US advisers and opposition fighters holding Al-Tanf border crossing to establish their own link to Iraq for the first time in years. The Iraqi side is still held by Daesh.

    Syrian troops in the area are preparing to march on Daesh positions to the north, in the Euphrates River Valley.
    The push by Iraqi forces came as the Syrian military announced Saturday the cessation of all combat operations in the southern city of Daraa for 48 hours in support of national reconciliation efforts after days of violence in the area.-ARAB NEWS

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