Residents frustrated by shuttered gate

Baghdad security gate sealed shut, isolating districts and forcing long detours

BAGHDAD — Images have surfaced on social media showing young students blocked from reaching their school in Abu Ghraib after a previously reopened security gate was unexpectedly sealed shut.

The concrete barrier, known as the Baghdad Wall, was erected during the fight against ISIS in Al-Dhiban and Al-Saadan districts, isolating them from the rest of Baghdad, and effectively placing them under the control of Anbar governorate’s security forces.

An agreement was reached to reopen the gate, facilitating movement and placing it under joint Baghdad-Anbar management. However, locals allege a faction within the security forces opposed to the reopening sealed the gate again, welding it shut.

The wall divides large swathes of Abu Ghraib from surrounding sub-districts and Anbar-linked regions, causing administrative confusion for residents.

Speaking to 964media, several local residents expressed their dismay over the wall and its impact.

“We’ve been suffering because of this Baghdad Wall issue for years,” one resident said. “Our areas belong to Baghdad [governorate], but the wall cut us off, putting us under Anbar’s military control.”

The resident went on to describe “significant confusion” over the separation, stating, “Schools, farms, health centers, even our relatives, are all outside the wall in Abu Ghraib, while our homes are under Anbar’s military.”

Residents lobbied officials, security forces, and parliamentarians from the area to authorize an opening since the government had declared victory over ISIS militants. After concerted effort, a gate was opened to allow vehicular passage, however, days later, locals found the gate welded shut again.

The closure primarily affects students forced to take lengthy detours of up to two hours to reach nearby areas, residents claim. They are urging authorities for a swift resolution, highlighting hardships faced by the community.