Iraq loses control of Syria, Jordan borders

Last Updated : 23 June 2014, 20:56 IST

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Sunni tribesmen took over the Turaibil desert border crossing—the only legal crossing point between Iraq and Jordan—after Iraqi security forces fled, leaving the entire Western frontier beyond government control.

Iraq lost control of Syrian, Jordanian borders as US Secretary of State John Kerry met Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Monday to push for more inclusive leadership.

Kerry pledged “intense” support for Iraq against the “existential threat” of a major militant offensive pushing towards Baghdad from the north and west.

The United States’ “support will be intense, sustained, and if Iraq’s leaders take the steps needed to bring the country together, it will be effective,” Kerry told journalists in Baghdad.
But the danger to Iraq, he said, is dire. “It is a moment of decision for Iraq’s leaders,” Kerry said.

“Iraq faces an existential threat and Iraq’s leaders have to meet that threat.”

Tribal leaders were negotiating to hand the post to jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) who took two main crossings with Syria in recent days and have pushed the Shia-led government’s forces back towards Baghdad.

Ethnic Kurdish forces control a third border post with Syria in the north, leaving government troops with no presence along the entire 800-km western frontier which includes some of the most important trade routes in the Middle East.

For the insurgents, capturing the frontier is a dramatic step towards the goal of erasing the modern border altogether and building a caliphate across swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Published 23 June 2014, 20:56 IST

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