Iraq beefs up security along Syria border
By Khalid al-Taie
Iraq has beefed up its deployment of security forces on the border strip between Ninawa province and Syria, Col. Ahmad al-Jubury of the Ninawa Operations Command announced Friday (June 1st).
A force comprised of soldiers from the 15th Division and the 9th Division’s 37th Infantry Brigade, along with US advisers, have assumed responsibility for securing the border, he said.
The 15th Division has distributed units from its artillery battalion among several border sites.
It also is supporting reconnaissance and intelligence operations in border areas to detect and fend off infiltration attempts.
This deployment is part of pre-emptive measures to fortify the border strip against the risk of infiltrating "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) elements from Syrian territory.
"Military forces holding the border have been beefed up on the side of our province [Ninawa] with troops from the 15th Division and other supporting forces," said Ninawa provincial council security committee chairman Mohammed Ibrahim.
"They are highly prepared for early handling of any terrorist infiltration," he told Diyaruna.
"Our forces are working hard to make these borders and adjacent areas well-fortified and highly secure," he said.
A comprehensive plan, developed in consultation with the provincial council, has been put in place to protect the border strip, he added.
Securing border top priority
Iraqi forces have "succeeded in securing the Syrian side of the border", Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi announced May 23rd.
"ISIS there has been eliminated, especially in Upper Euphrates areas," he said.
The Iraqi government is co-operating with neighbouring countries to secure its border areas, al-Abbadi said.
The government's main objective is "to protect the Iraqi border and prevent ISIS from infiltrating back in through the border with Syria," he added.
Over the past two months, Iraq has launched a series of raids on ISIS bases inside Syria, killing dozens of the group's leaders and elements.
Iraqi forces captured five high-ranking ISIS operatives during a cross-border operation in Syria, Iraq's Joint Operations Command said May 11th.