Syrian rebels control all of the border crossings with Iraq and several along the border with Turkey, Arab media and news agencies reported on Thursday.

The Iraqi-Syrian border crossings were forcefully taken from Assad troops, Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi told AFP. He claimed Iraqi border guards witnessed Free Syrian Army forces attacking a border post and killing Syrian soldiers.

“The Syrian army are focusing on Damascus,” AFP quoted him saying.

Iraqi General Qassim al-Dulaimi said killed 21 Syrian border guards in clashes near the nation’s northern border with Iraq. The remaining guards were ordered to leave their posts at the crossing near the Iraqi town of Qaim.

Al-Dulaimi told AP that the rebels did not cross into Iraq. But he said Iraqi forces have been put on high alert and have moved more soldiers to the area because he said the Syrian government has lost control of the border.

Al-Dulaimi did not know if rebels had taken over the other three major border crossings. Most of the border between the two nations is unmarked and porous.

Qaim is located about 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Baghdad.

Reuters reported that Free Syrian Army forces also took the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, near the Turkish city of Antakya, and commandeered the customs and immigration buildings.

A YouTube video appeared to show Syrian rebels defacing a picture of President Bashar Assad at the border crossing.

20,000 Syrian refugees reportedly fled the war-torn country for neighboring states on Thursday

Source: Times Of Israel


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