Iraq rejects relocation of IS militants near Syrian-Iraqi border

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-30 05:00:09|Editor: yan
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BAGHDAD, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday rejected the relocation of around 700 Islamic State (IS) militants and their families to the Syrian eastern city of Bukamal near the border with Iraq.

"We are concerned about the evacuation of large number of terrorist Daesh (IS) militants to areas near the Iraqi border. This is unacceptable," Abadi said at a press conference after his weekly cabinet meeting.

"We wished they would discuss with us. We ask the Syrian government to cooperate with us and to launch investigation into the issue," Abadi said.

Abadi also slammed the negotiation of Hezbollah and IS as "unjustified" because there must be cooperation to eradicate terrorism, not negotiation.

"We are not seeking to contain the terrorists, but to eliminate them," Abadi said.

Iraqi security forces still have to wage offensives to free the border areas with Syria such as the cities of al-Qaim, Aana and Rawa. However, observers believe that bringing more IS militants to Syrian areas across the border with Iraq would empower the terrorist group.

Abadi's comment came a day after around 700 IS militants and their families started evacuating their last stronghold in western Qalamoun region toward the city of Bukamal in eastern Syria, in accordance with agreement reached between Hezbollah and IS and agreed upon by the Syrian army.

A total of 16 buses carried the evacuated, including around 300 IS militants and their family members.