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Iraqi PM Again Orders Forces to Tighten Security on Border with Syria

Iraqi PM Again Orders Forces to Tighten Security on Border with Syria

Monday, 18 January, 2021 - 08:30
The Iraqi-Syrian border at al-Qaim, Iraq. (Reuters file photo)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the military to again take maximum security measures on the border with Syria, announced spokesperson of the Iraqi armed forces.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul said in a statement that the security forces are exerting all efforts to ensure the safety of the borders, especially with Syria, following the orders of the prime minister who is also commander of the army.

The spokesman stressed that armed forces are trying to control the areas on the border with Syria to pursue ISIS remnants in Iraqi territories, saying positive results have been achieved.

In 2014, ISIS invaded Iraqi territories from Syria, occupying four governorates that make up more than 40 percent of the country. The terror organization continues to operate even after Baghdad announced its military victory against it in 2017.

Rasoul explained that the security forces are focusing their preemptive operations on the region to the northeast of Syria where many terrorists are hiding.

Head of the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies and security expert Moataz Mohieddin confirmed that controlling the border with Syria has become one of the main concerns of the Iraqi government.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Kadhimi had previously ordered the security agencies to control the border with Syria and they have carried out various operations since last year and to this day.

He explained that the 600-km border requires constant monitoring.

A number of Iraqi military officials stated that the borders are secured and monitored through observation points, however, Mohieddin believes such methods are not completely effective.

The situation actually requires an agreement with Damascus to ensure complete security, especially since the Syrian army does not control these vast areas after three provinces had fallen in the hands of Turkey, defected Syrian factions and the Kurds and American forces.

This means that forces inside Syria are vying for control over these regions, posing a problem in border security for Iraq, he noted.

Strikes by unknown aircraft on the border and against Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) positions and leaderships have also complicated the situation, said Mohieddin.

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