`Syrian crisis has direct impact on Iraq`
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Last Updated: Sunday, June 23, 2013, 13:51
  
Baghdad: A top Iraqi leader said the crisis next door has a "direct impact" on the security situation in his country where hundreds of people have been killed in terror attacks in the last two months. Syria's ongoing civil war is dragging its neighbours into it.

"The ongoing crisis in Syria has a direct impact on security situation in Iraq," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said when asked about the violence in the neighbouring Arab country that has left around 93,000 people dead since the start of the Syrian civil war in March 2011.

Hundreds of Iraqi fighters, including from al Qaeda, are fighting both alongside and against embattled Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's forces.

The outlawed al-Nusra front fighting Syrian government has pledged its allegiance to al Qaeda in Iraq, a group blamed for most of the terror attacks inside the country. "We are sometimes affected by what is going on in our neighborhoods but the government is doing best to improve the security and to provide a conducive environment to normalise the life," Zebari said.

According to UN figures, 1,045 people were killed in Iraq in May, making it the deadliest month since the height of sectarian violence in 2006-2008 that claimed nearly 30,000 lives. The raging sectarian unrest in Iraq has sparked fears that the war-ravaged country is heading for a full-scale civil war similar to what was witnessed in 2006.

"We have a security challenge. We are working very hard," he said, underlining security forces' efforts to control the violence.

Iraq has endured a bloody cycle of insurgency and conflict since 2003 when US-led international troops invaded the country and toppled the Saddam Hussein government on the pretext of possessing weapons of mass destruction.

Though foreign combat troops have pulled out, the country has been hit by sectarian and terrorist violence claiming thousands of lives.

"We have terrorist groups working and operating to undermine the democratic system for the last 10 years but Iraq has managed to combat these groups and these (terrorists) networks," he added.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, June 23, 2013, 13:51


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