Iraq says its borders with Syria are secure of IS threat

“If the enemy tries to get closer, they will receive a strong response from our military units.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s border with Syria is fully secure from the threat of the so-called Islamic State (IS), an Iraqi military official said on Thursday.

“Our borders are fully secure, and the terrorist enemy is within five kilometers inside the Syrian territory, and there are ongoing fortification efforts,” Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, a spokesperson for the Iraqi army’s Joint Operations Command (JOC), said.

Iraqi forces were put on alert after the extremist group conducted a counterattack on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who temporarily withdrew from the border area before sending reinforcements to the region soon after.

The IS attack came as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the US-backed SDF are engaged in a massive fight against the militants in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in Deir al-Zor province.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the SDF announced a temporary halt to an offensive against IS after Turkish attacks targeted the SDF-affiliated forces’ positions in Kobani and Tal Abyad.

Brigadier-General Rasool explained that Iraqi forces continue “to explore” its borders with Syria, adding “they are heavily fortified.”

According to Rasool, Iraqi aircraft airstrikes and the installation of fences and thermal cameras on Iraq’s border with Syria have prevented an IS infiltration.

“If the enemy tries to get closer, they will receive a strong response from our military units,” he warned.

On Oct. 28, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi called on Iraqi forces to be vigilant and track “terrorist cells” in the country as well as secure the Iraqi-Syrian border from the threat IS attacks.