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Police at Iraq-Syria border to stop foreign fighters

  • Story Highlights
  • Border is a major route for Sunni Arab fighters battling U.S. troops in Iraq
  • Iraq dispatches officers one week after a U.S. military raid in a Syrian village
  • Syrian guards withdrew after the raid, leaving border posts empty, official says
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq has dispatched hundreds of police officers to its border with neighboring Syria to secure areas where foreign fighters are known to infiltrate into Iraq.

Syrian soldiers arrive in Damascus on Friday after Syria said it was reducing troops on its border with Iraq.

An official with the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Sunday that at least 500 members of the national police from Anbar province have been deployed along the border near the city of Qaim -- a major route for Sunni Arab fighters battling U.S. troops in Iraq.

A week ago, a U.S. military raid in a Syrian village resulted in Syrian border guards withdrawing inside their territory. This, the ministry official said, left a number of border posts empty, prompting Iraq to deploy the police officers there.

U.S. officials have said the U.S. conducted a "successful" strike in Syria on October 26.

The target of the strike was Abu Ghadiya -- an Iraqi whose family has been active in smuggling foreign fighters, money and weapons into Iraq across the Syrian border, according to several U.S. officials who did not want to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Other members of Abu Ghadiya's network were killed in the raid and no one was captured alive, one of the officials said.

Syria has said it has made efforts to secure the 375-mile (600-kilometer) desert border, which is marked largely by a sand berm.

But much of that border remains "uncontrolled," said Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the U.S. commander in western Iraq's sprawling Anbar province.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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