Iraqi forces detain 18 Syrians trying to cross into Iraq: military

A view shows an Iraqi border outpost along the frontier with Syria, Iraq January 18, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi forces detained 18 Syrians who were trying to cross into Iraq from Syria, Iraq’s military said late on Sunday.

The security media cell said the people were arrested in an “ambush as soon as” they crossed the border in the village of Umm al-Khabari in Sinjar district.

The group included men, women and children holding Syrian nationality, the statement read.

Iraq has tightened security along 600 km border with Syria to curb the movement of Islamic State (ISIS) militants, drug smuggling and other illegal activities.

In May, six other Syrian nationals were detained as they were attempting to illegally cross into Iraq.

The Iraqi military has also detained several ISIS suspects who were trying to cross the border with Syria in the past months.

The federal government announced victory over ISIS by the end of 2017 after Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led Coalition regained control of areas once captured by the militant group.

Despite its defeat, ISIS still poses a threat to the security and stability of the country as there are still sleeper cells in Iraq.

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