With most ISIS forces believed to be operating in the desert in eastern Syria, Iraq is facing growing concern that they’ll eventually, in the face of US-backed offensives, cross into Iraqi territory and try to set up shop again.
The Iraqi military announced that two Army brigades, a total of 8,000 soldiers, have been dispatched to the border. The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) say 20,000 Shi’ite militia fighters are also en route.
All told that’s nearly 30,000 fighters loyal to the Iraqi government heading to the Syrian border, in an attempt to keep ISIS from crossing in. Given the size of the border, however, it’s not clear how well they will be able to prevent cross-overs, if ISIS decides to.
That may not be an immediate concern, with ISIS forces in Syria continuing to fight against the Kurdish YPG in the last few towns they have yet. The YPG is also backing away, with a focus on fighting against invading Turkish forces. This could mean that ISIS never has to move from their remote hideouts at all.