Iraq ‘may operate against ISIL inside Syria’
BAGHDAD – Reuters
Iraq may carry out special forces operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in neighbouring Syria to stop them infiltrating back into Iraq, an expert close to the Baghdad government said on April 4.
While troops could be dropped into Syria, the plan did not at this stage involve sending ground forces over the border, Hisham al-Hashimi, who advises several governments on ISIL, including Iraq’s, told Reuters.
With Baghdad on good terms with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Abadi stressed that any operations would be limited.
“Our plan is to move from fighting terrorism in Iraq in Iraq to fighting terrorism in the region ... We are not trespassing over our border or attacking neighbouring countries,” he told a news conference, adding that the plan was being discussed by the Iraqi military leadership.
Iraq also good relations with Iran and Russia, Assad’s main backers in the seven-year Syrian civil war, while it receives at the same time strong support from the coalition.
Abadi declared the victory five months after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces dislodged Islamic State militants from Mosul, their de facto capital in the north of the country.
This put an end to the cross-border “caliphate” they declared in 2014 but Islamic State continues to carry out ambushes, assassinations and bombings across Iraq.