Iraq Builds Wall Along Syrian Border to Block Islamic State Jihadis
The Iraqi government has completed a wall “a dozen kilometers long and 3.5 meters high” along the Syrian border in Nineveh province to keep Islamic State jihadis at bay. Iraq plans to expand the wall to cover more of its 600-kilometer border with Syria.
An Iraqi military source told AFP on Sunday, March 27, the Nineveh barrier was just the “first stage” of wall construction, but did not specify how large the wall would eventually become.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the first stage of the wall was constructed opposite the town of al-Shaddadi in Syria’s Hasakeh province. ISIS fighters attacked the al-Sina prison in the Hasakeh region in late January, launching a bloody nine-day battle that included suicide bombs, a prison riot, hostage-taking, and summary executions.
Somewhere between 30 and 100 ISIS members escaped from the prison, including several “important leaders.” The escapees headed for the Syria-Iraq border, which hosts several active ISIS cells.
Kurdish officials are nervous that ISIS might attempt a similar full-scale prison break at the massive al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria. Smaller skirmishes have broken out around the camp as recently as late February.
The first phase of the Iraqi border wall went up very quickly. The Iraqi military announced its construction less than four weeks ago, stating the concrete barrier would be erected between “existing fortifications,” with the Iraqi army stepping in to help the notoriously undermanned and under-equipped border guards. (BB / VFI News)