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Iraq sends more police to Syrian border - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq sent police reinforcements Saturday to the Syrian border after last weekend’s U.S. raid against an alleged al-Qaeda hideout in Syria raised tension between the two countries, officials said.

Police Col. Jubair Rashid Naief said a police quick reaction force for Anbar province moved to the border town of Qaim, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, to prevent al-Qaeda from moving into the area from Syria.

Al-Arabiya television quoted witnesses as saying scores of armored vehicles were seen moving from the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi to Qaim, which had been a major al-Qaeda stronghold until Anbar’s Sunni tribes turned against al-Qaeda.

The police moves follow last Sunday’s bold U.S. raid on the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal, during which U.S. officials say they killed a top al-Qaeda militant who operated a network of smuggling fighters into Iraq.

The U.S. has not officially acknowledged the attack. Syria says eight civilians were killed and has branded the raid as aggression.

Syria has demanded that Washington apologize for the strike and has threatened to cut off cooperation on Iraqi border security in response to the attack. Earlier this week, Damascus also sent additional troops to the border following the raid, but has since withdrawn them.

The Iraqi government has rejected the attack, but has urged Syria to crack down on organizations on its territory that are trying to hurt Iraq.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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