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Iraq Clamps Down on Cross-border Arms Smuggling
By Omar al-Jaffal

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the headquarters of the Joint Operations Command in Baghdad on March 31 to take a look at the state of military operations to secure Iraq's borders. Iraqi security forces are primarily concerned about the 372-mile border between Iraq and Syria. Iraqi border guards regularly fend off Islamic State (IS) attacks, which have recently involved arms smuggling operations into and out of Syria across the shared border.

On March 18, the Directorate of Military Intelligence foiled an operation transporting weapons from Syria to Ninevah. The directorate said in a statement, accompanied by photos, that it had confiscated a vehicle loaded with light weapons, rifles, blasting detonators, anti-tank launchers, machine guns and other weapons in Badush, a village northwest of Mosul. On March 8, security forces interrupted another gun run, this one headed to Afrin from Mosul. Afrin was the site of battles at the time between the Turkish army and its Free Syrian Army allies against US-backed Kurdish forces.

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