Coalition commanders including U.S. 3rd Infantry Division Commander Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch; Army Maj. Gen. Michael Jones, commander of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team; and Army Brig. Gen. James Yarbrough, Iraq Assistance Group commander, met with Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement leaders less than 1 mile from the Iraq-Iran border at the Wasit Border Headquarters, the American Forces Press Service reported.
"It is important that all the key players … meet with the appropriate commanders so we can measure progress and come up with an action plan on how things can be done," Lynch said, in a statement. "Ultimately, progress is measured in saving lives.
"As a tactical commander, I want to block the flow of accelerants of violence from the Iranian militia. This is an exceptional situation, with terrorists challenging us from the left and the right. The ports of entry play huge roles in securing safe borders for protection of the people. So the betterment of the POEs is a huge issue."
The Zurbatiya site is the only fully functional site that processes both pedestrians and cargo among Iraq's 19 official ports of entry. Coalition forces have been working to enhance the security of the site, including a recently constructed tower to observe the Iranian truck loading area, in the wake of some Iraq militant arms that are believed to have originated in Iran. Officials say additional security measures have been planned.
"We're assisting the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement to employ leading technologies and improve procedural policies and techniques," Yarbrough said. "The goal is for the Iraqis to better preserve their sovereignty, protect Iraqi citizens, and shield against foreign fighters, contraband and accelerants to violence."