BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Iraq will re-open its borders with Iran and Syria, closed earlier this week in the initial stages of a security crackdown, a spokesman for the officer overseeing the plan said on Saturday.
“Seventy-two hours have passed and the borders will gradually re-open, but it will take 60 days for the border crossings to return to normal,” Brigadier Qassim Moussawi said, without specifying exactly when they would be reopened.
Moussawi said the borders would be open for a limited number of hours each day, under close scrutiny. They were closed on Wednesday. He said the closure was mainly to allow for the smooth deployment of additional security forces in Baghdad, where U.S. and Iraqi troops have stepped up an operation to try to stabilise the violent capital.
The U.S. military had said the border checkpoints would be revamped, partly to establish “transfer points” to search vehicles coming in.
U.S. officials accuse Syria of allowing foreign fighters to cross its long, porous border with Iraq, and last weekend presented evidence of what they said was Iranian- manufactured weapons being smuggled into Iraq.