Iraq shuts border post after Syrian rebels seize frontier

By REUTERS
March 3, 2013 15:09

MOSUL - Iraq shut a border crossing with Syria on Sunday after rebels battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad seized the other side of the frontier post from his army, Iraqi military sources said.

The Iraqi army fired warning shots into the air late on Friday as Syrian insurgents fought government forces in the Syrian town of Yaarabiya and eventually seized the border post.

The fighting so close to Iraq illustrates how Syria's near-two-year conflict could spill over its borders, dragging in neighboring countries and further destabilizing the region.

"Iraqi authorities were ordered to shut off Rabia border crossing until further notice because of the Syrian government's lack of control over the other side of the post," police said.

Syria's insurgents are predominantly Sunni Muslim and are supported by mainly Sunni regional powers such as Turkey and Gulf Arab countries, while Assad belongs to the minority Alawite sect and is backed by Shi'ite Iran.


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