Iraq’s Anbar Province Reaches Border Deal With Syrian Rebels

Rebel Fighters Encourage Locals to Loot Border Post

by Jason Ditz, July 20, 2012

Yesterday’s announcement that the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) had seized the entire border with neighboring Iraq created considerable problem for Iraqis, particularly as a number of refugees from the Iraq occupation were trying to escape the civil war in Syria through that border.

But according to Iraqi MP Same’a al-Ghalab, the provincial government of Iraq’s Anbar Province has reached a deal with the FSA on the governing of the border, saying they had agreed to prevent border violations.

That may well be, but the border seems far from calm. Reports from the border village of Bab al-Hawa say that the FSA urged villagers to sack the border post, and that they cheered on village residents who attacked a duty free stop, stealing goods inside. The shop was reportedly owned by a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad.

The FSA claimed not only the border with Iraq, but parts of the border with Turkey, saying that from Iraq to Idlib the regime is “done.” There was no report of any specific deal with Turkey on their borders, but the FSA is based out of Turkey and has been openly backed by the Turkish government, so there probably is an understanding.

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