Iraq ready to share anti-ISIL intel with Russia

Iraqi PM welcomes cooperation with Russia amid Moscow airstrikes on Syria targets allegedly belonging to ISIL since Sept. 30

Iraq ready to share anti-ISIL intel with Russia

World Bulletin / News Desk

Iraq is ready to share anti-ISIL intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria if they ask for it, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Saturday.

“We have been fighting ISIL more than a year and we have some important security information that no other country has regarding ISIL,” Abadi said during a press conference at the presidential office in capital Baghdad.

Referring to Russia’s latest airstrikes in Syria -- allegedly targeting ISIL, the prime hinted that his government would welcome military equipment assistance from its neighbors Iran and Syria -- or Russia.

“There aren’t any obstacles preventing the coalition of four [i.e. Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq] from arming the Iraqi military against ISIL,” he said.

Russia began airstrikes on Wednesday to bolster the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow insists the strikes are targeting ISIL and affiliated terrorist groups, but Western countries and their Gulf allies believe moderate opponents of Assad and civilians are bearing the brunt of Russian bombing.

The U.S. and several of its allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, issued a joint statement Thursday expressing concern over the Russian airstrikes.

Early this week, Iraqi President Fuad Masum welcomed Moscow’s airstrikes in Syria, and Prime Minister Abadi announced that they might consider a plan involving Russian airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq.

Iraq’s northern Kurdish administration was also sympathetic to the idea. "Kurdistan region is an active part of U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition in Iraq," said Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government's leader Masoud Barzani in a written statement late Saturday, while urging for coordination between the international coalition and Moscow against ISIL so as to "get better results”.

He stressed that the Kurdish region would welcome any possible Russian support for peshmerga forces -- which he described as the leading force in the fight against ISIL.

On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared to throw cold water on the notion, saying late Thursday, “We are not planning to expand our airstrikes in Iraq.”

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartapolov from Russian General Staff told the reporters in Moscow that Russian forces will intensify airstrikes in Syria, saying Russian fighter jets have so far conducted over 60 flights over Syria and hit 50 targets that are allegedly belong to ISIL.

"We will not only continue our air offensives but also increase their intensity," he added.

At least 9 civilians including three civil defense personnel were reportedly killed on Saturday as Russian military jets pounded Ihsim area of Jabal al-Zawiyah region in Idlib province.

Ahmed Hafi -- a local civil defense activist based in Ihsim -- told Anadolu Agency that the casualties were from the airstrike by two Russian war planes on a farm in Ihsim in opposition-held Jabal al-Zawiyah.

Syria’s devastating civil war, now in its fifth year, has claimed more than 250,000 lives, according to UN figures, and made the country the world's single-largest source of refugees and displaced people.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Ekim 2015, 09:19