The Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said Wednesday (January 3rd) it is "mobilising all of its military capabilities" to fend off "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) infiltration from Syrian territory.
Iraqi forces are "imposing their absolute control" along the border strip with Syria, JOC spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasul told Diyaruna.
"We have sufficient troops from the army and the Border Guard Command heavily deployed along that strip and the adjacent desert areas, supported by air cover," he said.
Military patrols and aircraft sorties have been stepped up, he added, and surveillance and monitoring operations are being conducted in an orderly fashion and with co-ordination between all units.
"Our forces have placed traps and ambushes for ISIS elements, and the raids and search campaigns for their hideouts and secret strongholds continue without interruption on the border and everywhere in the country," Rasul said.
The forces on the border area with Syria are thwarting militant infiltration attempts on a daily basis and killing and capturing many of them, he added.
"We are harnessing all our military capabilities to secure our borders, repel any attempt by the terrorists to break in, and block the way before them," he said.
Suicide attackers thwarted
"The forces deployed on the Iraqi-Syrian border are performing their duties with high professionalism and efficiency," Anbar provincial council member Adhal al-Fahdawi told Diyaruna on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, these forces thwarted a large ISIS infiltration attempt, he said.
"After receiving accurate intelligence, they were able to identify the terrorists, who were wearing explosive belts, as they tried to cross on foot from Syrian territory," al-Fadhawi said.
"They immediately killed all 15 suicide attackers, known as 'inghimasis' (those who immerse themselves in enemy ranks)," he added.
Joint army and mobilisation forces spotted an infiltration attempt by 15 ISIS militants on their way from Syria to an Iraqi village near al-Qaim, assistant army operations commander Col. Fadhil al-Saadi told Diyaruna.
"They were fired at from a distance, but continued to advance, prompting our forces to engage them for more than one hour using all types of weapons," he said. "All the terrorists were killed after Iraqi helicopters intervened to repel them."
The infiltrators had been trying "to reach the first Iraqi village on the border to attack Iraqi army units stationed there", al-Saadi said.
Safeguarding the Iraqi border
The Tuesday infiltration attempt "was preceded by many attempts in which the enemy did not succeed in breaching our borders and creating a foothold for itself", al-Fahdawi said.
Securing the border and the desert has reflected positively on the state of security in Anbar and the other provinces in the country, he added.
"We have not recorded, since the announcement on December 9th of the final victory over ISIS, any terrorist breaches, and this means we are moving in the right direction," he said. "Efforts in this regard are yielding good results."
The local population's co-operation with the units in charge of controlling the border is an essential factor in supporting these efforts, al-Fahdawi added.