The Iraqi Border Guard Command has received the first batch of heavy equipment from the international coalition as part of a joint programme to help Iraq build fortifications along its border with Syria.
Four bulldozers were delivered to Camp Dublin near the Baghdad International Airport on Saturday (December 7th), Border Guard Commander Lt. Gen. Hamid al-Husseini told Diyaruna Tuesday.
A further 18 pieces of heavy machinery are scheduled to arrive before the end of 2019, he said.
These machines, which include bulldozers, excavators, power shovels and graders, will help Iraq build fortifications along the border with Syria, he said.
For the past two years, Border Guard forces have been carrying out large-scale work to fortify the Iraqi-Syrian border by building earth mounds, digging trenches and erecting an electric fence, said al-Husseini.
These efforts are meant to prevent the infiltration of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) elements and put an end to smuggling operations, he said.
A committee headed by al-Husseini has been charged with overseeing the delivery of all machinery. A memorandum of agreement was signed with the international coalition in this regard Monday, he said.
Close co-operation with coalition forces
Coalition forces are working hard to boost Iraq's defensive capabilities, al-Husseini said, noting that they have supplied 15,000 GC rifles, mobile border posts, equipment and military vehicles, including 400 pickup trucks.
They have also trained the Border Guard forces on basic combat skills and the tackling of infiltrators and smugglers, he said.
Efforts to secure the border strip with Syria fall under "The Syrian-Iraqi Border Requirements System", a monitoring and fortification system that the Border Guard Command is working to complete with the support of the government, said al-Husseini.
The system involves establishing three parallel defense lines 10 metres apart: the first starts with a metal fence, the second consists of barbed wire and watchtowers, while the third line includes 100 long-range thermal cameras.
"Two days ago, we seized vehicles loaded with Grad rockets that were intended to cross into our territory from Syria," he said, adding that all those aboard the vehicles were arrested.
"Our forces work day and night, in co-ordination with the rest of the military units, to close any loopholes ISIS remnants could infiltrate from," he said.