Islamic State seizes Syria's last border crossing with Iraq

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Islamic State militant group has seized the last border crossing between Syria and Iraq controlled by the Syrian government after security forces withdrew, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Thursday. Iraqi officials said Iraqi security forces had also withdrawn from their side of the crossing known as al-Waleed in Iraq and al-Tanf in Syria. The crossing is in Syria's Homs province, where Islamic State on Wednesday seized the historic city of Palmyra from government forces. It was not immediately clear when Islamic State took the site. An Islamic State fighter contacted by Reuters confirmed the group had taken control of the crossing, which is a 240 km (150 miles) drive from Palmyra, known as Tadmur in Arabic. Islamic State also controls a border crossing between Syrian province of Deir al-Zor and the Iraqi province of Anbar, while a border crossing between the two countries in northeastern Syria is controlled by a Kurdish militia, the YPG. Islamic State has declared a cross-border "caliphate" in the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq. (Reporting by Tom Perry and Mariam Karouny in Beirut, and Isabel Coles and Ahmed Rasheed in Iraq; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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