Border crossing closed for seven years opens between Iraq and Syria

Iraq and Syria open border crossing

Monday's opening of the crossing between the Iraqi town of Qaim and Syria's Boukamal is expected to strengthen trade between the two countries.
Monday 30/09/2019
Syrian soldiers take a picture with an Iraqi patrol during the opening ceremony of the crossing between the Iraqi town of Qaim and Syria's Boukamal, in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. (AP)
Syrian soldiers take a picture with an Iraqi patrol during the opening ceremony of the crossing between the Iraqi town of Qaim and Syria's Boukamal, in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. (AP)

Iraq and Syria have opened a key border crossing between the two neighbouring countries, seven years after it was closed during Syria's civil war.

Monday's opening of the crossing between the Iraqi town of Qaim and Syria's Boukamal is expected to strengthen trade between the two countries.

It's also a boost to Iran's influence in the region, allowing Iran-backed militias in Iraq easier access to eastern Syria amid soaring tensions in the region between Iran and the US.

The opening of the crossing was postponed several times in recent weeks.

Qaim and Boukamal were controlled by the Islamic State group until 2017, when Syrian and Iraqi troops captured the towns from the extremist. The group's territorial defeat was announced in Syria earlier this year.

(AP)