US-Backed Syria Rebels Attack Key ISIS Town on Iraq Border

Rebels Seek to Recover Territory in Country's Far East

Aiming to recover some significant territory in the Syrian far east, a US-backed rebel faction known as the New  Syria Army is moving against the key border town of al-Bukamal, a major ISIS possession along the Syria-Iraq border.

The New Syria Army formed about 18 months ago, after ISIS expanded along the Syria-Iraq border, capturing most of the region. The faction recovered the southernmost border crossing, at al-Tanf, but al-Bukamal is a much more valuable crossing.

Since this is a far more valuable crossing, and al-Bukamal itself is a pretty large town in its own right, ISIS will doubtless put up considerably more of a fight over it than they did the Tanf crossing.

Al-Bukamal is the main crossing between Deir Ezzor Province, which is overwhelmingly held by ISIS, and the Iraqi Anbar Province, which ISIS also holds the majority of. Iraq has recently pressured Anbar’s largest cities, in the province’s far east, but ISIS’ territory along the border remains under their control.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.