• Monday, Nov 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 10:23 pm

Iraq hints at bigger role in Syria after US withdrawal

  • Published at 10:34 pm December 31st, 2018
Adel Abdul Mahdi
Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi arrives for the opening of Baghdad International Fair in Baghdad, Iraq, November 10, 2018 Reuters

Abdul Mahdi has previously said that about 2,000 Islamic State fighters are operating near the border in Syria and trying to cross into Iraq

Iraq's prime minister said on Sunday that top security officials from Baghdad had met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, and hinted at a bigger Iraqi role fighting Islamic State militants as US troops withdraw from Syria.

"This issue has a lot of complications," Adel Abdul Mahdi told reporters, referring to US President Donald Trump's surprise announcement this month that he will withdraw US forces from Iraq's neighbour.

"If any negative development takes place in Syria it will affect us. We have a 600 km border with Syria and Daesh (Islamic State) is there," Abdul Mahdi said.

The premier said the Iraqi delegation had visited Damascus to "gain the initiative, not just deal with the consequences" of any future Islamic State (IS) activity emboldened by the US withdrawal. Iraqi news websites said the visit took place on Saturday.

Abdul Mahdi said Iraq sought to move beyond its current arrangement with Syria - under which it launches air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syrian territory - but did not got into more details.

"There are groups operating in Syria, and Iraq is the best way to deal with this," he said, responding to a question about the possibility of increased involvement of Iraqi forces in Syria.

Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim paramilitary groups backed by Iran already operate inside Syrian territory against the Sunni Muslim militants of Islamic State.

Abdul Mahdi has previously said that about 2,000 Islamic State fighters are operating near the border in Syria and trying to cross into Iraq.

Islamic State was militarily defeated in Iraq in 2017, but has continued to launch guerilla-style attacks on security forces in the north of the country.

50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail