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Anbar launches projects in rural areas

A farmer feeds a cow at a private farm in al-Suwaira, Iraq. [Ali al-Saadi/AFP]

A farmer feeds a cow at a private farm in al-Suwaira, Iraq. [Ali al-Saadi/AFP]

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Government and local Iraqi companies on Wednesday (January 30th) launched a number of service, health and industrial projects in rural areas of Anbar.

The projects were inaugurated after security forces cleared a number of villages and the Anbar countryside "of the menace and threat posed by terrorist organisations", said Dr. Jassem al-Halbousi, chairman of the Anbar provincial council.

They involve constructing school buildings, health centres and water purification plants, resurfacing roads, and extending electricity and communications services and sewage networks, he said.

They also include establishing parks, gardens, commercial markets, housing compounds, agricultural and livestock farms, and broadening the network of roads in the province, linking them to main roads, bridges and the international expressway, al-Halbousi said.

"In past years, terrorist groups were active in these areas, and this was the reason behind the delay in the start of the projects and the delivery of services," he said.

Thanks to the efforts of Iraqi security forces, tribal support and the success of Sahwa forces, "the terrorists were expelled and did not return", allowing work on these projects to begin, said Mizher al-Mulla, a member of the Anbar provincial council.

There is also active co-operation between the Anbar provincial government and central ministries in Baghdad that were directed to support and provide financial assistance to these provincial projects, particularly those that target under-served areas of the province, he said.

Such projects include dredging areas like riverbeds to remove sediments and harmful shrubs and plants from them, and using their reeds to manufacture paper, he said.

According to al-Mulla, the new projects complement previous ones, which set up veterinary medicine centres, agricultural offices, advisory facilities for cattle and sheep raisers, and training centres for farmers, among others.

Yousef Obaid al-Musharraf, chairman of the committee tasked with following up on the new projects, said government and local companies are working under the direct supervision of the Anbar provincial council, in collaboration with the relevant ministries.

The Anbar provincial government plans to finish these projects within a year and a half, with government committees from the Anbar council and local government offices playing a monitoring role, he told Mawtani.

Companies are also slated to build 27 police stations in these areas to ensure citizens are protected, he said.