Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) now control all three border crossing points along the Iraq-Syrian border, giving the extremist militant group vital strategic strength to move men and material between both countries.
ISIL’s domination of the porous border area in the Al-Tanf crossing in the southwest came as its fighters overran Syrian army defenses in the ancient town of Palmyra.
“IS seized control of the Al-Tanf border crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border … after regime forces withdrew, leaving the Syrian regime with no control over its border with Iraq,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Historians have warned that ISIL fighters would likely level the UNESCO World Heritage site in much the same fashion as the destruction of Hatra and Nimrud in northern Iraq.
Palmyra is believed to be at least 2,200 years old and is one of the best preserved ancient cities in the Middle East.
Meanwhile in Iraq, ISIL fighters appear to be consolidating last week’s victory in Ramadi by moving toward the capital Baghdad.
The Iraqi government has mobilized pro-Iranian Shia militia to liberate Ramadi and prevent ISIL from reaching the capital.
Shia militias proved pivotal in the liberation of Tikrit six weeks ago.
But on Thursday, local tribal leaders said that ISIL had broken through a Shia militia and Iraqi army defensive perimeter near the Habbaniyah military base, 90km west of Baghdad.
The BRICS POST with inputs from Agencies.