Iraq Builds Syria Wall to Prevent ISIS Members from Infiltrating

Iraq is building a concrete wall on part of its border with Syria to prevent members of the Islamic State jihadist group from infiltrating, an Iraqi military source said on Sunday.

In the “first phase” construction, a wall “about 12 kilometers long and 3.5 meters high was built in Nineveh Province,” in the Sinjar area, in the northwest, a senior officer told AFP. He asked not to be named.

Iraq, which shares a more than 600km border with Syria, is trying to “stop the infiltration of ISIS members” into its territory, the source said, without specifying how long it would take for the wall to be put into operation.

The border between Iraq and Syria.  (Photo: VOA)

The border between Iraq and Syria. (Photo: VOA)

Iraq in 2018 said it had started building a fence on its border with Syria for the same reason.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based Syrian war monitor, said the construction of the wall was carried out in an area overlooking the town of Al-Shaddadi, in Hasakeh, Syria’s southern province.

In January, in the Kurdish-controlled province, ISIS fighters attacked a prison to free fellow ISIS members, sparking days of clashes that left hundreds of people dead.

Many detainees are thought to have fled, some crossing into neighboring Turkey or into Turkish-controlled northern Syria, the Observatory said.

ISIS seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” before Baghdad proclaimed victory in late 2017 after its intense campaign of attacks.

But the small Islamic State insurgency continues, raging mainly in the rural and mountainous areas between the autonomous Kurdish region and the northern outskirts of the capital. [uh/jm]