Damascus agrees to help monitor Iraqi border

Damascus agrees to help monitor Iraqi border

The Obama administration and Damascus tentatively agreed to establish a tripartite committee, with Baghdad, to better monitor the Syrian-Iraqi border as the Pentagon draws down American troops from Iraq in coming months, said senior U.S. officials.

The proposed three-way border-control assessments could boost Iraqi security and patch one of the region’s most volatile fault lines. The initiative was made by a team of U.S. Central Command officers and their Syrian counterparts last week in Damascus.

The pact awaits the green light from Baghdad, which expressed frustration at being excluded from the U.S.-Syrian talks, saying they violated Iraqi sovereignty on security matters.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Tuesday. A statement issued late in the day by the Iraqi prime minister’s office in Baghdad said only that the two sides “discussed the expansion of the Iraqi and Syrian cooperation” in border control. [continued…]

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