Iraqi forces see challenge in 100 Islamic State tunnels on Syria borders

An Iraqi border sign in Anbar.

Baghdad ( The Iraqi military estimates that Islamic State had dug 100 underground tunnels on the borders between Iraq and Syria, military sources were quoted saying on Wednesday.

Aljournal News website quoted a source from the Iraqi border guards saying that the troops discovered four underground tunnels in December, with some reaching 1.5 kilometer in length and used by the militants to move between the two countries.

“Now, we can confidently say that borders are within the grip of the army, the Popular Mobilization Forces, border guards and tribes, all doing an integrative job,” the source said. “Attacks against our forces by Islamic State cells are usually launched from Syria, and are mainly suicide one, but we still have certain issues to decide on, most importantly to put an end to (border) infiltration”.

According to the source, “Islamic State militants posses maps of the tunnels they have dug professionally over the past years, and we believe there are one hundred tunnels along the borderline…they should be destroyed whatever it takes”.

Another Iraqi army officer, who asked not to be named, said the tunnels “threaten the mission to close the borders”, adding that “a single tunnel could pose a threat to Iraqi lives”.

Iraqi forces declared victory over IS last month, ending a three-year campaign to retake the territories occupied by the militants in 2014, and concluded the campaign with declaring full control over the borders.

Russian-backed Syrian forces and U.S.-supported Kurdish Syrian militias continue fighting IS on Syrian territories. The group lost its main base, Raqqa, in October.


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