Syrian government soldiers, backed by volunteer fighters from popular defense groups, have linked up with Iraqi army troops for the first time in years after they took control of a vast territory in Syria’s semi-arid southeastern region of al-Badiya.
Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Manar television network reported on Sunday that the army units in cooperation with allies had managed to liberate 25,000 square kilometers (9,600 square miles) of land during a campaign in the border region in recent weeks.
“This is the sign of the cooperation between the brotherly Iraqi and Syrian military leadership to secure the shared borders,” a Syrian army general, speaking on condition of anonymity, told privately-owned and pro-government al-Ikhbariya al-Soriyah television news network.
The general said the meeting point for Iraqi and Syrian forces is northeast of Tanf base, where the US military is training anti-government Takfiri militants.
The Syrian military official further noted that the new meeting point is only 20 kilometers (12 miles) from al-Mayadeen area, where Daesh terrorists have recently relocated much of their leadership to.
The development came only a day after Iraqi forces liberated al-Waleed border crossing point in the Ar-Rutba district of the western province of Anbar from Daesh extremists.
Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Iraqi forces had moved northeast of al-Waleed, meeting up with pro-government Syrian troops for the first time since 2015.
The head of the Britain-based monitoring group, Rami Abdurrahman, said the link between Iraqi and Syrian forces will allow Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by their Arabic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi, to move inside Syria and help Syrian government’s campaign against Daesh in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.
Separately, the artillery units of the Syrian army have struck Daesh positions across Dayr al-Zawr, killing and wounding many of the extremist militants in Panorama area, Borouk Hill, al-Tharda and al-Hueiqa neighborhoods as well as Ayash village.
A correspondent for Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Syrian Air Forces jets have bombarded Daesh vehicles equipped with heavy machineguns in Hattla and the outskirts of Dayr al-Zawr Airport.
Scores of militants have been killed and injured during the airstrikes.
Syria has been fighting different foreign-sponsored militant and terrorist groups since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated last August that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then.