Iraq and Syria have opened a key border crossing between the two neighboring 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.
The border crossing was seized in 2014 by ISIS. The extremist group controlled Qaim and Boukamal until 2017, when Syrian and Iraqi troops captured the towns from the extremists as part of a massive operation backed by an international coalition against the self-proclaimed “caliphate.” The group’s territorial defeat was announced in Syria earlier this year.