One year after Iraqi forces regained control of al-Rutba in western Anbar province, the government has increased security measures in the Trebil crossing area in preparation for the reopening of the border with Jordan.
The crossing, which has been closed to passenger traffic and trade since the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) overran the town of al-Rutba and other border areas in 2014, is expected to resume its operations in the next two months, officials told Diyaruna.
Joint army, police and border guards forces have reinforced their presence at the Trebil crossing and on the international road connecting it to Jordan and al-Rutba, said MP Hakim al-Zamili, chairman of the parliamentary security and defence committee.
Security preparations are under way to resume trade and passenger traffic between Jordan and Iraq, he told Diyaruna.
Forces from the Anbar border guards' 2nd military region "have played a distinct role in maintaining security at the border crossing, clearing its environs of ISIS positions and preventing ISIS militants from getting near it in the past [few] years", he said.
"We are ready to carry out government orders and maintain security and stability in Anbar and border areas of Iraq, which is connected [from the west] to three countries -- Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia," Maj. Gen. Ammar al-Kubaisi, commander of the Anbar border guards, told Diyaruna.
But the border guards need additional monitoring and surveillance equipment to help secure the entire border strip, al-Kubaisi said, including modern surveillance cameras to detect militant activity.
Important source of revenue
ISIS was in control of the international road all the way to the Trebil crossing with Jordan and the al-Waleed crossing with Syria -- known as al-Tanf crossing from the Syrian side of the border.
The group currently still controls the al-Qaim border crossing with Syria, but the liberation of al-Rutba and the securing of the international road have encouraged the government to reopen Trebil, said Anbar provincial council security committee member Rajeh Barakat al-Aifan.
The international road passes through Ramadi, Fallujah, Heet, Haditha and al-Rutba, he said, noting that "there is a pressing need to clear the rest of the cities of western Anbar, including al-Qaim, Anah and Rawa to eliminate ISIS from the entire western region."
The Trebil crossing provided an important source of revenue for the local Anbar government, which used these revenues to rehabilitate service and other projects, and employed hundreds of youth, he said.
"The central government in Baghdad is seeking to reopen the crossing and rehabilitate the roads, bridges and crossings on the international road to ensure the continuity of trade and the smooth transport of products and goods between Iraq and Jordan," said Fahd al-Rashed, member of Anbar's provincial council.
"The security situation is stable at the Trebil crossing... and its reopening will have significant financial returns for Iraq and Anbar," he added.
"The return of normal movement on the road will contribute to solving many of Anbar residents' problems and suffering, especially in the services and economic sectors," said Sheikh Turki al-Ayed al-Shimmari, head of the Anbar tribal council.
"Many industrial and commercial companies used to trade products and goods between Jordan and Iraq," he told Diyaruna.