Fighters with the self-declared Islamic State have seized the last border crossing in Syria, where they control half of the country, according to a British-based monitoring group.
Syrian government forces withdrew from al-Tanf, known as al-Waleed in Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The border crossing lies at the extreme northwest of Iraq’s border with Syria.
Having seized the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, the Observatory says, ISIS now controls 50 percent of the country. The extremist group is said to control territory in nine of 14 provinces, including Deir al-Zour and Raqqa, Hasakeh, Aleppo, Homs and Hama.
Al-Jazeera quotes activists in Palmyra as saying residents are without power or water.
“The Syrian regime have bombed several targets for ISIL since last night, but air strikes also targeted two mosques in the city — Othman Bin Affan and al-Iman mosques. Several people have been killed and others injured,” one person was quoted as saying by the Qatar-based news agency.
“Hospitals and clinics are being bombed, too. There are not enough medical supplies or doctors to treat the injured,” the activist said.
According to the BBC:
“Militants in Iraq are reported to be pressing eastwards from Ramadi down the Euphrates Valley towards Habbaniya where pro-government forces are massing for a proposed counter-attack on Ramadi.
“If they take Habbaniya, IS will be close to linking up directly with Falluja, a city close to Baghdad which has been held by the Sunni militant group for well over a year despite repeated attacks by government forces, our correspondent says.”