By John Lee.
Iraqi forces have closed the Al-Qaim border checkpoint with Syria with a three-metre concrete wall, Xinhua reports.
Syrian rebels waged fierce battles with regime troops in the town of Albu Kamal [Al-Bukamal] along the Iraqi border, capturing a string of security posts and the local police headquarters.
Taking full control of the town, located in the eastern oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour and across the border from the Iraqi town of Qaim, would expand the rebel foothold along the frontier with Iraq.
The border crossing point has been in rebel hands since last month, although government troops have remained in control of much of the town, according to Arab News.
Iraqi officials said Syrian military planes crossed into Iraqi airspace on Thursday to carry out air strikes against Albu Kamal.
(Sources: Arab News, Financial Times, Xinhua, The Independent)