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Security |

Anbar to reopen al-Qaim border crossing with Syria

By Saif Ahmed in Anbar

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Iraq will reopen the al-Qaim border crossing in September in a move that many say will boost trade and economic exchange between Iraq and Syria, and provide transport services needed by Iraqis. Cars and freight trucks are seen in this photo at the Trebil border crossing between Iraq and Jordan after it was reopened in 2017. [Saif Ahmed/Diyaruna] 

Anbar's local government announced it has begun implementing a series of measures to reopen the al-Qaim border crossing between Iraq and Syria in early September.

The local government, with the approval of the central government in Baghdad, has begun implementing a series of administrative, security and service-related measures to reopen the crossing, which has been closed since 2012, Anbar provincial council member Taha Abdul Ghani told Diyaruna.

"Service departments have begun erecting buildings and have installed more than 50 trailers provided by the central government, in addition to rebuilding structures that were destroyed by the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS)," he said.

Security forces including the army, police and Anbar Border Guard are protecting the perimeter of the crossing and are deployed along the border between Iraq and Syria, Abdul Ghani said.

Al-Qaim "is one of the most important districts of Anbar province and will contribute significantly to supporting Iraq’s economy when the crossing reopens early next month", he said.

Source of revenue

Reopening al-Qaim border crossing is "a key economic project" that will create job opportunities for unemployed Anbaris with the return of commercial traffic and the transport of passengers, goods and commodities, al-Qaim mayor Ahmed Jidyan told Diyaruna.

The border crossing was largely destroyed in the terrorist operations carried out by ISIS during its control of parts of Anbar, he said, adding that its reopening will provide the local government with substantial revenue from the crossing itself and the expansion of commercial and service activity.

Anbar provincial council member Mohammed Farhan told Diyaruna the province "will see a huge boom in construction activity and the economic situation will flourish once al-Qaim border crossing is reopened, as it will provide land transport services for both passengers and freight".

"Dozens of shops, markets, restaurants, parking lots, tourism and travel offices, and currency exchange companies will open at the crossing and along the highway stretching from Ramadi through Anbar’s western districts to the crossing," he said.

"These shops, offices and companies will employ hundreds of private and non-governmental sector workers and create jobs for the youth and people with technical and industrial expertise," he added.

"The opening of the border crossing will boost trade and economic exchange between Baghdad and Damascus, and provide transport services needed by Anbaris and all Iraqis," Farhan said.

Anbar is enjoying "considerable stability" after the dismantling of ISIS cells and the focus is now on reconstruction and the resumption of services in the liberated cities, said Shuaib Barzan al-Obeidi, commander of tribal mobilisation forces in Upper Euphrates cities of western Anbar.

Tribal fighters in Upper Euphrates cities are positioned at security checkpoints along the international highway, and are helping the army and border guard secure the border strip with Syria in al-Qaim, al-Waleed district and al-Rummaneh area, he told Diyaruna.

"The reopening of the al-Qaim border crossing in the coming days will mark another victory over terrorism and restore commercial traffic between the two countries," he said.

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