The local unit of Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch in the tinderbox town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border pledged loyalty June 25 to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a monitor said.

The merger is significant as it opens the way for ISIL to take control of both sides of the frontier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

ISIL seized Abu Qaim on the Iraqi side earlier this week, with Albu Kamal opposite it in Syria. […]