Iraq PM says didn`t request Syria raid, but any strike against ISIS `welcome`

After the Syrian warplanes bombed the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) targets in Iraq`s Anbar province, the US has warned that the solution to the Sunni extremism must not involve the “murderous” Assad regime.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Jun 26, 2014, 16:54 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Baghdad: After the Syrian warplanes bombed the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) targets in Iraq`s Anbar province, the US has warned that the solution to the Sunni extremism in the besieged country must not involve the “murderous” Assad regime.

The airstrikes carried out by the Syrian regime on border areas in Anbar province (under Sunni militants`control) killed 57 civilians and wounded over a hundred Iraqi civilians, reported the CNN.

Speaking to the BBC, PM Nuri al-Maliki on Thursday confirmed that the raid was launched by the Syrian government.

He added that while he did not request Syria for the strike, however he welcomed any such strike against the ISIS.

Iraq had earlier requested the US for carrying airstrikes against the Sunni militants, who are advancing relentlessly through Iraq, capturing many towns, border crossings and oil fields.

The US government and Iraqi military officials have already confirmed that the deadly raid was launched by the Syrian regime.

Condemning the airstrike, the US has said that the solution to the ISIS insurgency crisis needs boosting the defenses of Iraqi security forces and not the attacks by the “murderous” Assad regime.

 "The solution to the threat confronting Iraq is not the intervention of the Assad regime, which allowed ISIL to thrive in the first place... The solution to Iraq`s security challenge does not involve militias or the murderous Assad regime, but the strengthening of the Iraqi security forces to combat threats," said Bernadette Meehan, a National Security Council spokeswoman.

John Kerry who was in Brussels for a NATO meet over the crisis, also warned that Syrian intervention would only worsen the sectarian tensions.

"We`ve made it clear to everyone in the region that we don`t need anything to take place that might exacerbate the sectarian divisions that are already at a heightened level of tension," Kerry said.

"It`s already important that nothing take place that contributes to the extremism or could act as a flash point with respect to the sectarian divide."

Syrian air raid in Iraq came after reports that the ISIS militants had captured the border crossings to Syria and the Sunni militants could pass on a huge cache of looted weapons and ammunitions to their fellow extremists in Syria, posing danger for Assad regime.

The Syrian strike has highlighted how deeply connected are the Syria civil war and Iraq crisis and if left uncontrolled, the ISIS insurgency could grow on to become a wider threat, as they aim to form a Caliphate state straddling Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the militants of the ISIS continued to extend their advance, gaining control of many oilfield and also one of the largest airbases, that was known as “Camp Anaconda” during US invasion, said a Reuters report.

Militants also took the Ajeel oil site, near Tikrit, which contains at least three small oilfields that produce 28,000 barrels per day, the report cited an engineer as saying.

The air base capture by the ISIS came as the first batch of the military advisers were deployed in Iraq on Wednesday

Out of 300 advisers the US has planned to send to Iraq, over 120 US military adviser arrived in Baghdad yesterday, which consist of logistics analysts and intelligence experts, said the Pentagon.

The US has ruled out direct military intervention in Iraq and opted to urge Iraq`s political leaders to rise above sectarian issues and forge a new inclusive Cabinet that represents all people of Iraq, specially the Sunnis and Kurds who have felt marginalised during Shiite ruler Maliki`s governance.

However, al-Maliki, in his first public statement since President Barack Obama challenged him last week to create a more inclusive leadership or risk a sectarian civil war, rejected calls for an interim "national salvation government ."

He added that "rebels against the constitution", a thinly veiled reference to Sunni rivals, posed a more serious danger to Iraq than the militants. 

He called on "political forces" to close ranks in the face of the growing threat by insurgents, but took no concrete steps to meet US demands for greater inclusion of minority Sunnis.