Iraq–Syria border

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Map of the Iraq-Syria border

The Iraqi–Syrian border is the border between Syria and Iraq and runs for a total length of 599 km (372 mi) across Upper Mesopotamia and the Syrian desert, from the tripoint with Jordan in the south-west to the tripoint with Turkey in the north-east.[1]


The border starts in the west at the tripoint with Jordan at 33°22′29″N 38°47′37″E / 33.3747°N 38.7936°E / 33.3747; 38.7936, with the initial section being a continuation of the long straight line that forms the eastern section of the Jordan–Syria border. The boundary then shifts in the vicinity of the Euphrates river and the Al-Qa'im border crossing, proceeding northwards via a series of short straight lines, and then north-eastwards to the Tigris river. The Tigris then forms a short 3-4 mile section of the border up to the Turkish tripoint at the confluence with the Khabur river at 37°06′22″N 42°21′26″E / 37.1060°N 42.3572°E / 37.1060; 42.3572.


At the start of the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire controlled what is now Syria and Iraq.[2] During the First World War an Arab Revolt, supported by Britain, succeeded in removing the Ottomans from most of the Middle East. As a result of the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot Agreement, Britain gained control of the Ottoman vilayets of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, which it organised into the mandate of Iraq in 1920, with France organising a mandate over Syria.

ISIL's territory, in grey, at the time of its greatest territorial extent in May 2015

In the period 1920-23 France and Britain signed a series of agreements, collectively known as the Paulet–Newcombe Agreement, which created the modern Jordan-Syria and Iraq–Syria borders, as an amendment to what had been designated the A zone in the Sykes–Picot Agreement.[2] In 1932, it was finalised following a League of Nations commission review.[2][3]

Since the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War, the border region has become unstable, exacerbated since 2011 by the ongoing Syrian Civil War.[4] Most of the border region on both sides was part of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for some years, although its northernmost portion remained under Kurdish control, forming the border between Rojava and Iraqi Kurdistan.[5] The Islamic State has since lost control of the border, which is controlled by Rojava and the Syrian government on the Syrian side, and the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi government on the Iraqi side.

Border crossings[edit]

There are three official border crossings between Syria and Iraq,[6] and one makeshift crossing:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CIA World Factbook - Syria, retrieved 3 April 2020
  2. ^ a b c International Boundary Study No. 100 – Iraq-Syria Boundary (PDF), 15 May 1970, retrieved 3 April 2020
  3. ^ Report of the Commission entrusted by the Council with the Study of the FRONTIER BETWEEN SYRIA AND IRAQ (PDF), League of Nations/United Nations, 10 September 1932, retrieved 5 April 2020
  4. ^ The Transformation of the Iraqi-Syrian Border: From a National to a Regional Frontier, Carnegie Middle East Center, 31 March 2020, retrieved 5 April 2020
  5. ^ Al-Tamimi, Aymenn Jawad (September 26, 2018). "Islamic State Shifts From Provinces and Governance to Global Insurgency". Global Observatory. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Syrian border crossings". September 2013. Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Iraq reopens Syria crossing in win for mutual ally Iran". Reuters. 30 September 2019.
  8. ^ Rees, Sebastian. (26 September 2019). Iran's Trojan Army: How Iranian Militia Have Merged with Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  9. ^ Frantzman, Seth J. (30 September 2019). Sensitive and Strategic Border Crossing between Iraq-Syria Opens. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Iraqi forces remove Islamic State fighters from vicinity of U.S. base in Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  11. ^ "US welcomes opening of border between Rojava and Iraqi Kurdistan". ARA News. 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  12. ^ "Business booming in Rojava after outlet opened with Kurdistan Region". Kurdistan24. 22 April 2017.

External links[edit]