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Iraq builds concrete wall to stop IS fighters

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BAGHDAD: Iraq is building a concrete wall along part of its border with Syria to stop Islamic State (IS) group jihadists from infiltrating, an Iraqi military source said Sunday.

According to a senior official, a wall roughly “[seven miles] long and [11 feet] high was built in Nineveh province” in the Sinjar area of northwest Iraq during the “first stage” of construction.

Iraq, which shares a 370-mile border with Syria, wants to “put a halt to the infiltration of Islamic State members” into its country, according to the source, who did not say how long the wall would be.

Iraq announced in 2018 that it has begun construction on a fence along the Syrian border for the same reason.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the wall was built in an area facing the town of Al-Shaddadi in Syria’s Hasakah province’s south.

In January in the Kurdish-controlled province, IS fighters attacked a prison to free fellow jihadists, sparking days of clashes that left hundreds dead.

According to SOHR, many captives are believed to have escaped, with some fleeing into Turkey or Turkish-controlled territory in Syria’s north.

IS conquered large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014, declaring a “caliphate,” before Baghdad declared victory in late 2017 after a long battle.

However, a low-level Islamist insurgency persists, especially in rural and hilly areas between Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region and the capital’s northern outskirts.

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