Shortly after Russia launched airstrikes against militants in Syria, Iraq announces that it would also welcome any such military measures by Moscow on its soil.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told France 24 television on Thursday that he had been receiving “massive information” from both Syria and Russia on the Daesh Takfiri militant group.
When asked if he had discussed with Russia airstrikes in his country, Abadi said, “Not yet,” adding, “It is a possibility. If we get the offer we will consider it and I would welcome it.”
Meanwhile, senior Russian foreign ministry official Ilya Rogachev said that his country would consider launching the strikes if it gets “such a request from the Iraqi government or a Security Council resolution that depends decisively on the will of the Iraq government.”
In summer 2014, Daesh expanded its militancy from Syria to Iraq by capturing some key urban areas in north and later in the west of the country.
The Iraqi army has managed to push back the group from some northern territories, including from Tikrit, the capital of the Salahuddin province. Military operations are under way to purge the militants from Ramadi and Mosul, two major bastions of Daesh in west and north.
Moscow announced earlier in the day that it has appointed Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko to represent Russia at a joint intelligence task force in Baghdad, which also includes Iran and Syria.
Rogachyov also ruled out Russia joining a US-led coalition purportedly targeting Daesh positions in the Iraq.
“Theoretically, it would look nice (to join the US-led coalition) from a political point of view, but I think that we have difficulty understanding the principles on which the coalition is acting,” Rogachyov said, adding, “On the basis that the coalition currently exists, we are unlikely to join.”
Russian defense ministry announced that it had sent more than 50 military aircraft as well as marines, paratroopers and special forces into Syria. It came just one day after it started to pound positions of Daesh across Syria.
Turkey’s foreign minister expressed concerns over Russia’s air strikes in Syria.
“We are very much concerned at reports that yesterday’s air operation by Russia is not targeting Daesh but some opposition positions and civilian casualties have also occurred during these operations,” said Feridun Sinirlioğlu.
He said the Russian attacks will “lead to further escalation and this is the last thing we need in this very tragic and caustic situation in Syria.”
“This will add up to the problems in Syria, not will be helpful or finding solution to this now long overdue suffering of the Syrian people,” said Sinirlioğlu.
Turkey is among countries suspected of supporting the Daesh militants operating inside Syria.