Tense Border Hampers Efforts For Returning Iraqis; 6 Iraqis Killed in Iraq, 7 in Syria

Friday: 6 Iraqis Killed, 5 Wounded

by , July 20, 2012

At least six Iraqis were killed and five more were wounded in violence that rattled the start of Ramadan. Another seven Iraqis were killed in Damasus, Syria. Meanwhile, the tense border situation is making the journey home for returning Iraqis more chaotic and dangerous.

Fighting between the Free Syrian Army and Syrian forces continued in Abu-Kamal today. Explosions could be heard easily from Iraqi territory. Security forces in Iraq were able to discuss the tense situation with the Syrian rebels, who agreed to keep the fighting away from the border. A government spokesman said this is the only border crossing currently in the hands of rebels.

The Anbar Provincial Council reported the return of hundreds of Iraq families through the border into Anbar. They will assist other government agencies and the Red Crescent in helping relocate the refugees to their hometowns. Other refugees were able to fly back to Iraq, bypassing the restive border area completely. One estimate placed the number of returning Iraqis at around 30,000.

Only refugees holding Iraqi passports were permitted through the crossing as the Iraqi government feels it cannot provide adequate services to the Syrian refugees. Another factor may be the belief that Sunni insurgents could benefit from the chaos and slip into Iraq.

Nevertheless, a family of seven Iraqis was killed in the Syrian capital.

At home, at least six Iraqis were killed and five more were wounded in other violence. The holy month of Ramadan began today for many Muslims.

In Baghdad, an electrical engineer and his brother were killed during a small arms attack directed at them in the Kadhimiya district. Nearby in Adhamiya, a bomb killed a soldier and wounded three others. A policeman was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Bayaa.

In Mosul, a Shabak civilian was shot dead. Gunmen also killed a soldier. A soldier was killed and another wounded while trying to defuse a bomb.

Gunmen failed to harm a State of Law politician during an assassination attempt in Kufa.

Read more by Margaret Griffis