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Middle East

Slow movement at border due to US withdrawal

By Associated Press 4/1/2019
The traffic on the bridge over Fishkhabour river is unusually quiet.

It connects Iraq and Syria.

But the movement of people and goods across the border with Iraq has been decreasing dramatically.

The bridge in Duhok governorate in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq is usually one of the busiest crossing points between the two countries.

This is because a large numbers of Syrian refugees live in camps in the Kurdish region and there are trading links between this area and Syria.

But now few travellers are seen on both sides of the borders, with little traffic movement on the connecting bridge.

Most of the people are watching and waiting for tensions to end.

The US announced it would withdraw its troops from Syria and the Turkish government has threatened a military offensive in Manbij to dislodge the US-backed Kurdish fighters which it deems a threat to its national security.

Amirah Ibrahim, who is from Qamishli in Syria, says it's hard for people to know where to go.

"The people are confused. They escape from Amuda to Qamishli, from Qamishli they escape to Hasakah, and the people of Hasakah are escaping to Amuda. I mean the situation is very bad. Food is very expensive, there is no fuel, and the transport is very expensive too."

Travellers line up holding their few belongings to get their papers checked and board mini buses.

Ahmed al Ali, also from Qamishli, is certain the US decision will change the situation in Syria.

"It (US withdrawal) does make a difference and will leave an impact and it is that impact that the people are so scared of," he says.

More than 250,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees live in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq.

Fishkhabour border crossing is named after the Fishkhabour river, which draws a natural border between the two countries.

It is one of the main streams of Tigris river in Iraq.

The pontoon bridge floats on the river, but before that, people used to cross it by boats.


pre-Boomer Marine brat | 5/1/2019
The average Millennial American will probably make a guess that "Tigris" is an all-girl hard-rock band.
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