ISIS Secures Control of Syrian and Jordanian Border Posts
The New York Times reports that extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “extended their control on Monday to the country’s entire western frontier, having secured nearly all official border crossings with Syria and the only one with Jordan, giving them the semblance of the new independent state that they say they intend to create in the region.”
ISIS control of Jordan’s border has raised concerns that its widening insurgency could affect not just Syria and Iraq, but Jordan and Saudi Arabia, two important U.S. allies and backers of the Syrian opposition.
“In recent days, the militants … seized two Iraqi posts on the Syrian border. There were unconfirmed reports late Monday that militants occupying one of the posts, Waleed, had scattered from Syrian government airstrikes,” the paper says. “But the other post, in Qaim, was under complete ISIS control and opened up an important supply line for the militants between the battlefields in both countries.”
Syria Hands Over Remaining Chemical Weapons for Destruction
Reuters reports that even as Syria has handed over the remaining 100 tons of toxic material it had declared to the Organization for the Protection of Chemical Weapons, the organization’s leader says the country cannot be declared free of weapons of mass destruction.
“The chemicals, roughly 8 percent of a total 1,300 tons reported to the OPCW, had been held at a storage site which the government of President Bashar al-Assad previously said was inaccessible due to fighting with rebels,” it writes. “The security situation in the area has now improved and the containers of chemicals were taken by truck to the Syrian port of Latakia and loaded onto a ship to be destroyed at sea on a specially equipped U.S. vessel.”
Speaking in the Hague, OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu said: “A major landmark in this mission has been reached today. The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded this afternoon aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura.”
Israel Says Assad Forces Behind Weekend Missile Attack
Reuters also reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad were responsible for a Sunday missile attack that killed an Israeli boy in the Golan Heights. The incident then drew Israeli tank fire and air strikes on Syrian army positions, killing 10 Syrian soldiers.
It was the first time the Israeli government said who perpetrated the attack, which analysts regard as the most significant escalation of the last three years between Israel and Syria.
“We got all the analysis, all the intelligence and it was clear it was Syrian authorities, Assad’s forces, who fired on the Israeli boy … and they must pay the price,” the wire quotes Lieberman as telling Israel Radio. “I hope Damascus got the message. I think Israel responded exactly as we should have, in this case and all others. We cannot just gloss over an Israeli citizen, a boy, being murdered in cold blood with no one being held responsible.”
Syria Official Warns of Iraq Threat
The AP interviews Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi, who says that the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq threatens the implosion of the entire Middle East. He also says the insurgents have started to transfer weapons from Iraq to Syria.
Over the past few days, ISIS took control of several strategic towns along the Euphrates, continuing their efforts to etch out a large region straddling the two conflict-ridden countries.
“What is happening in Iraq is dangerous and threatens the security of the entire region,” al-Zoubi tells the wire. “It threatens the security of the Gulf, of Iran, Turkey and the entire Middle East. It also touches directly the security of Europe and international security.”
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