When the Syrian civil war broke out at the start of 2011 Iraqi officials were still complaining about its support for the insurgency. In June, the head of the Anbar council’s security committee said that President Assad was a threat to Iraq. (1) He went on to say that in January militants were caught crossing over from Syria with help from Damascus. As early as 2002 Assad began allowing its nationals and other Arabs to go to Iraq to prepare to fight the impending American invasion. That process continued afterward. By 2008, Damascus was trying to repair relations with Baghdad as it saw the Americans preparing to draw down in the country. Syria began cracking down on some of the militants, and provided intelligence to Iraq and sometimes the U.S. Still, Assad didn’t stop all of the insurgents within his territory, so that he could monitor and maintain ties with them. Ironically, the Syrian war would reverse the flow of men and material as Iraqi militias, militants, and tribes all joined in on the conflict.
1. Alsumaria, “Anbar: Syria still poses a risk on Iraq if regime is not changed,” 6/17/11
Alsumaria, “Anbar: Syria still poses a risk on Iraq if regime is not changed,” 6/17/11
Kane, Sean, Abouaoun, Dr. Elie, “Baghdad’s Wary Support for the Syrian Status Quo,” United States Institute of Peace, 10/18/11
Nance, Malcolm, The Terrorists Of Iraq, Inside the Strategy and Tactics of the Iraq Insurgency 2003-2014, Boca Raton, CRC Press, 2015