Iraq Increases Security on Syrian Border

by christineanderso

Iraq is increasing security measures to contain the movement of ISIS militants, prevent drug smuggling and similar illegal activities along the 600-kilometer-long border with Syria.
Iraqi commanders explored the border in the desert on Monday, which was controlled by different groups such as the Iraqi army, Iranian-backed militias, the Syrian army, anti-Damascus rebels and US-backed Kurdish forces.

The border region is a factor that creates tension between Iranian-backed groups and America. Tensions, organized by Isidor due to attacks and pressures exerted on Turkey’s Kurdish rebel groups are also climbing.

Lieutenant General Abdul Emir Al Shammari said at a police station overlooking Syria that the Iraqi side is under state control and that this area is under tighter security, but that the main difficulties come from inside Syria.

“One of the biggest issues is the lack of a single security partner in unity on the Syrian side,” Lt. Gen.

“In this region, the Syrian Democratic Forces are on the other side of the border. We coordinate with this group through the American coalition,” the Iraqi commander said.
“Further south is the Syrian army. Some places beyond this area are controlled by Syrian opposition groups,” said al-Shammari.
Lieutenant General noted that Iraq has begun to focus on the use of high-tech thermal cameras and surveillance balloons.

Reuters news agency reporters, who made an aerial reconnaissance over the region with the military, witnessed deep trenches were opened in large parts of the Iraqi side of the border. There are few guard watch towers, metal fences and earthen walls along the border.

Al Shammari said the families of some ISIS fighters who left the Al Hol refuge camp in Syria, where tens of thousands of people who fled ISIS’s last strongholds were sheltered, were detained.

Authorities worry that the al-Hol refuge camp has become a home for extremist ideology and the return of thousands of Iraqis with ties to ISIS.

The border area has also recently been the scene of Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets, such as Revolutionary Guards commanders.

The Iraqi army is in a difficult position to coordinate with paramilitary forces, including groups close to Iran. These groups, at odds with Israel and America, are transporting weapons and fighters across the border.

Iraq also has sought to prevent itself from the PKK’s activities seeking to advancing relations with Turkey.

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