Iraqi attack helicopters have launched an attack against a convoy of fuel tankers in the Syrian border city of Bukamal today, destroying the tankers and killing at least eight people.
Bukamal is held by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and was the site of a major, multi-day battle between AQI and fellow al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra earlier this month. The oil rich city, on the Iraq border, is seen as especially valuable for jihadist rebels.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry is claiming the fuel tankers were bound for Anbar Province, which AQI continues to hold much of, and was going to be used to re-supply fighters there.
The takeover of Bukamal has effectively given AQI a supply line corridor from the Aleppo Province, in northern Syria, to Anbar cities just a stone’s throw from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The Iraqi military has been fighting them in the Anbar Province for months, but this is the first time they have launched a cross-border attack into Syria, reflecting the increasingly regional nature of the war.