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Iraqi army fights for control of Anbar

The Iraqi army has launched an operation to seal the border with Syria and defeat al-Qaeda in western Iraq.
Soldiers on a back of military vehicle carrying the coffin of the Commander of the army's Seventh Division Maj. Gen Mohammed Ahmed al-Kurwi during a funeral ceremony in Baghdad December 22, 2013. Militants killed at least 18 Iraqi officers and soldiers in Sunni-dominated Anbar province on Saturday, including Kurwi, who oversaw a crackdown on Sunni protesters earlier this year, military sources said. REUTERS/stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT MILITARY) - RTX16RMM

On Dec. 23, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the launch of a military operation against al-Qaeda near the Syrian border. The operation was dubbed “Avenging the Leader Mohammad.”

Many in Iraq are hoping that this operation will eradicate al-Qaeda. However, the fact remains that the Anbar battle is over military control of the area after al-Qaeda tried to establish a foundation to fuel its activities on both sides of the 600-kilometer (373-mile) Syrian-Iraqi border.

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