comments_image Comments

Clashes kill 34 Iraq security forces on Syria border: officials

US soldiers patrol the Iraqi al-Qaim border town opposite the Syrian Abu Kamal crossing on November 6, 2006
US soldiers patrol the Iraqi al-Qaim border town opposite the Syrian Abu Kamal crossing on November 6, 2006

Clashes with Sunni Muslim militants have killed 34 Iraqi security forces members in Al-Qaim, a town on the Syrian border, officials said Friday.

The fighting broke out late Thursday night and continued until around noon Friday, with militants in control of most of the town, security forces officers and a local official said.

The identity of the militants was not immediately clear.

But the official, Farhan Farhan, appealed to the government for arms "stronger than the weapons that ISIL has," a reference to the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Witnesses said families had begun to flee Al-Qaim.

Militants said to be loyal to Syrian rebel groups took control of the nearby Al-Qaim border crossing on Tuesday, the second crossing the government has lost since June 9.

Iraq is struggling to contain a major ISIL-led offensive that overran all of one province and large parts of three more in a matter of days last week.