Syrian, Iraqi forces close to major win after reaching border

Syrian, Iraqi forces close to major win after reaching border

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Syrian forces reached the Syrian-Iraqi border on Saturday and reached their Iraqi allies, scoring a triumph that will foil West's attempts to sever the land links between Iraq and Syria through controlling a major border crossing.

The media reports have maintained that the Syrian forces, backed by allies, progressed southeast of the country and approached the al-Tanf border crossing near the Iraqi border. Earlier, Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a voluntary force founded in opposition to the ISIS terrorist group in 2014, had managed to expel ISIS terrorists and take control of border region.

This is the first time in a couple of years that pro-government f forces are retaking control of Iraqi-Syrian border areas.

Over the course of past weeks, Iraq's PM Forces, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic and the Syrian army forces from launched large-scale operations towards the common borders. In the course of last two weeks, the Syrian forces backed by their allies have managed to cleanse 20,000 square meters of the country’s southeastern regions of ISIS terrorists.

In addition to cutting off ISIS terrorist group's supply lines on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, the recent victory dealt a heavy blow to the American struggles to cut road contact between Syria and Iraq that is facilitated by a highway that links the Iraqi capital Baghdad to the Syrian capital Damascus.

The Americans have been in control of al-Tanf border path for about a year. The crossing is in a border area shared by Iraq, Syria, and Jordan, and links Baghdad to Damascus though a major international highway, features making border path vitally strategic for the actors on the ground.

The US said it deployed forces to the area to help Syrian opposition militias fight ISIS terrorists but its real goal was setting up a buffer zone on the two countries' border to cut links between Baghdad, Damascus, and finally Beirut.

Syria and allies, on the opposite side, argue that the American presence in the area is illegal and thus are trying to thwart Washington plans there. The US fighter jets in past three weeks raided the pro-Syrian forces in the area three times, followed by US military statements asserting that Washington will not let the advancing forces approach the area.

Therefore, in order to avoid American airstrikes, Syrian forces are revolving around circumventing the al-Tanf border crossing and encircling the American forces in the area.

Fabrice Balanche, a Syria geopolitics expert at the University of Lyon, in an article on the Military Times website wrote that the smartest way for the pro-Syrian forces was circling around al-Tanf region, an arrangement that blocks any exit route for the US-backed militants in the area and makes the border area strategically useless and even risky to the American forces.

Now with the new progress on the border area, the Syrian forces are to a large extent close to their goal, though the reports suggest that the Americans are not going to easily accept a compromise on their plans and let the Iraqi and Syrian forces establish control over the strategic border area. Hours after defeating ISIS and connecting the two sides of the border by Syrian forces, the Americans warplanes bombed the progressing forces in the area.

The analysts, however, suggest that the US will be forced to accept defeat and new limitations sooner or later. Elijah J. Magnier, a West Asia security and military affairs analyst, on his Twitter posted that “USA will have to leave al-Tanf.” He further said the Americans cannot stay there for a long time.


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