Syria and Iraq have reached an agreement to reopen the Qa’im border crossing more than two years after liberating it from ISIS, Head of Iraq’s Border Crossing Authority Kazim al-Aqabi announced on April 11.
“We agreed with the Syrian side to open the crossing of Qa’im, provided that the requirements for commercial exchange and the passage of people are prepared as soon as possible … These requirements will be met within a maximum of six months,” al-Aqabi said in an official statement.
The Iraqi official added that the two countries will continue to coordinate and consult with each other in order to reopen other border crossing in the near future.
Iraqi government forces liberated the eastern part of Qa’im in November of 2017. Within a few days, the Syrian military liberated the western part of the crossing, near the city of al-Bukamal. Despite this, the crossing has not been reopened yet.
Some Iraqi sources claim that Baghdad refused to open the crossing over the last two years due to ISIS presence in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, which ended earlier this year. However, others sources believe that U.S. pressure is the real reason. Washington fears that the crossing could enable Iran and its allies to transfer weapons and oil to Syria and Lebanon in a faster and more efficient way.
Syria has not confirmed or denied the plans to reopen Qa’im crossing so far. The Damascus government may make an announcement on this issue in the upcoming days.
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