Iraq closes Syria border

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ben W, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Iraq closes Syria border
    Sep 11, 2005

    Iraq's government said it launched thousands of troops against rebels in the city of Tal Afar on Saturday and ordered the nearby border with Syria closed to stem what Baghdad calls an influx of foreign fighters.
       
    Keen to show off the muscle of their US-trained forces, ministers said other towns were in the line of fire and state television ran repetitive footage from recent days in Tal Afar of Iraqi soldiers hunting and detaining men described as rebels.
       
    Residents reported US air strikes overnight, gunfire and an encirclement of US armour in parts of the town as Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari announced an offensive had begun.
       
    "At 2 am today (2200 GMT), acting on my orders, Iraqi forces commenced an operation to remove all remaining terrorist elements from the city of Tal Afar," he said in a statement.
       
    Later in the day, a dust storm hindered the offensive, US officers in Tal Afar said. State television ran fresh footage, however, of more arrests and soldiers moving through a town that US troops have seized in the past before withdrawing again.
       
    Jaafari said the troops were responding to appeals for help from "all the different religious and ethnic elements in Tal Afar". The town, west of the northern city of Mosul and near the Syrian border, is mostly populated by ethnic Turkmen.
       
    Civilians had been taken out of the town in recent days as military operations were stepped up, officials said.
       
    US and Iraqi forces have long said Tal Afar was being used as a conduit for equipment and foreign Sunni Arab fighters smuggled in from Syria to fight the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led Iraqi government and occupying US forces across the country.
       
    Late on Saturday, the Iraqi government announced the closure of the Syrian border from Sunday morning.
       
    "As part of continuing security efforts, we have decided to close the international border with Syria, and mainly at Rabiah," Interior Minister Bayan Jabor said, reading a statement by Jaafari on television.
       
    Rabiah, 100 km northwest of the northern city of Mosul, would be under curfew for 10 hours from 8 pm, weapons would be banned and the border zone closed to non-residents. 

    http://www.tvnz.co.nz/view/page/411319/610315
     
  2. OldRegular

    OldRegular
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    About time!
     

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