Iraqi PM orders all borders open to Syria
Iraqi government to accept
July 24, 2012
AL-WALEED, Iraq,— Iraqi Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki has ordered his country's borders to
be opened up to allow Syrian refugees fleeing
violence at home to enter Iraq, his office said on
The order - circulated to the Iraqi army, border
guard forces, Red Crescent and other government
officials - said preparations should be made to
receive Syrians "whose extraordinary conditions in
their country oblige them to change location," a
statement from Maliki's office said.
General Issam Yassim, a senior border commander,
told Reuters at Iraq's southern Al-Waleed border
crossing with Syria, 560 km (347 miles) west of
Baghdad, that he had received the directive.
"The order came 30 minutes ago," he said, adding
that it applied to all Iraqi border crossings with
Al-Waleed, one of Iraq's three main border crossings
with Syria, is held by Syrian government forces and
has been the main crossing point for Iraqis fleeing
the violence in Syria, especially from Damascus.
Syrian rebels say they control another crossing, at
Albu Kamal-Qaim, based on a major trade route
further north. It was sealed by the Iraqi army due
to government fears that the violence in Syria could
spill across the border.
A third crossing at Rabia, near the northern Iraqi
city of Mosul, passed briefly into rebel hands,www.ekurd.net
but is now under the control of Syrian government
There is another crossing in Iraqi Kurdistan, near
the Turkish border.
Thousands of Iraqis have already returned home due
to the turmoil in Syria but face sectarian violence
at home. At least 89 people were killed in gun and
bomb attacks against mostly Shi'ite Muslim targets
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