BAGHDAD, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari said on Wednesday that the security forces captured a number of Islamic State (IS) militants who tried to infiltrate into Iraq to flee the battles in neighboring Syria.

Al-Shammari made his comments during his tour to the Iraqi-Syrian border in western Iraq where he met with commanders of the security forces, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry.

He highlighted the need to continue hunting down those who infiltrate into Iraq and to prepare the defensive positions on the border to prevent the infiltration of terrorists.

Al-Shammari's tour on the border with Syria came as Turkey is carrying out an operation against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, which has been met with widespread international and Arab condemnation and warnings that the war against terrorism could be undermined.

Iraq fears that IS extremist militants could flee into Iraq and pose a threat to its security during the Turkish assault in Syria.