Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, decided on the night of June 16, to move nearly 8,000 Iraqi troops toward the Iraqi-Syrian and Iraqi-Jordanian borders. This comes a few days before local elections are to be held in the cities of Mosul and Anbar.
A senior military official in Maliki’s military office said in a statement to Al-Monitor that “four regiments of the ground forces, each consisting of nearly 2,000 troops and protected by armed helicopters, had arrived to the border with Jordan and Syria.”
The official, who is a senior officer supervising the security situation in the Sunni provinces, said, “The objective in moving the troops to the border is to secure Iraqi areas adjacent to the border and to prevent fighters from sneaking into [Iraq].”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added, “The forces that have finally arrived to the border are equipped with sophisticated heavy weapons,” without giving any further details.
The province of Mosul had earlier announced the arrival of military reinforcements into the city to protect voters who will cast their ballots in the provinces of Ramadi and Mosul, which are adjacent to Syria, on June 17.
During the day on June 16, a series of bombings targeted different Shiite majority areas in the central and southern parts of the country, while the UN described these acts of violence as “ruthless.”