Iraq to tighten Syria border security
Iraq's PM Nuri Al-Maliki declares the tightening of the roughly 600-kilometre frontier with Syria in a bid to prevent weapon smuggling and trafficking
AFP, Saturday 3 Mar 2012
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki speaks during an interview with Reuters in Baghdad, August 6, 2010. (Photo: Reuters)
Iraq will take further measures to secure its border with Syria in an effort to prevent weapons smuggling and trafficking, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office said on Saturday.
The statement, which offered no specifics, is the second announcement in two weeks that Iraq will tighten the roughly 600-kilometre (375-mile) frontier with Syria, amid a nearly 12-month bloody crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime on an anti-government revolt.
"A number of procedures were enacted to enhance the monitoring of the border and to prevent any violations or trafficking and to close all the gaps that terrorists are trying to use to enter to commit their crimes," the statement said.
It came after Maliki headed a meeting of senior officials, comprised of acting defence minister Saadun al-Dulaimi, the head of the country's border guards, as well as senior security commanders.
"The prime minister emphasised the necessity to be more disciplined, especially on the border with Syria, to prevent any activity that can affect the security of the country or that goes against Iraq's policy to not interfere in other countries' affairs," the statement said.
A day earlier, Saudi newspaper Okaz published an interview with Maliki in which he said Al-Qaeda was moving from Iraq to Syria.
"Al-Qaeda has started migrating from Iraq to Syria, and maybe it will migrate from Syria to another country, to Libya or to Egypt or to any region where the regime is unstable and out of control," he said.
Baghdad said on February 18 that it would take measures to secure its border with Syria.
The crackdown in Syria has so far left more than 7,500 people dead, according to the United Nations.