UK PM David Cameron backs air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, Syria; calls Assad 'part of problem'

British Prime minister David Cameron on Thursday backed air strikes against the terror group ISIS or Islamic State and said that Syrian President Bashar Assad was part of the problem rather then the solution.

By Manisha Singh | Updated: Sep 04, 2014, 19:18 PM IST
UK PM David Cameron backs air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, Syria; calls Assad 'part of problem'

London: British Prime minister David Cameron on Thursday backed air strikes against the terror group ISIS or Islamic State and said that Syrian President Bashar Assad was part of the problem rather then the solution.

As per reports, he also said that permission was not needed from Assad to bomb ISIS positions in Syria.

The comments by Cameron was made ahead of the NATO summit in South Wales.

He called the Iraqi government a 'legitimate government' and termed Assad's government as 'illegitimate' as he had committed war crimes on his own people.

At the same time he reiterated that the ISIS posed a direct threat to Britain and emphasised that strikes against them would be launched if they were in the national interest. "I'm certainly not ruling anything out and I will always act in the British national interest", he said.

Cameron also hinted that UK was ready to send its weapons directly to Kurdistan for the first time and added that they may help train the Kurdish forces in order for them to fight the ISIS militants in northern Iraq.

"We need to show real resolve and determination, we need to use every power and everything in our armoury with our allies, with those on the ground, to make sure we do everything we can to squeeze this dreadful organisation out of existence," he said, as per PTI.

"The first thing we should do is help those on the ground fighting this organisation. Britain has been helping get arms to the Kurds and we are prepared to do more and we are considering actively whether to give them arms ourselves and whether we can do more directly to train Kurdish militia. We are already helping there, but we can do more," Cameron added.

So far, Britain has sent non-lethal equipment to Kurdistan.

After beheading a second American journalist in Iraq, the ISIS has identified a British hostage in a video entitled ‘A Second Message to America’. It is the same video that showed the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by an ISIS militant.

The terror group has threatened to kill the British hostage, who reportedly has family based in Scotland, unless US air strikes on its positions in Iraq are halted.

The unnamed Briton was taken hostage in the village of Atmeh, in the Idlib province of north-west Syria, in March, 2013, along with an Italian aid worker and two Syrians, who have since been freed.

Cameron indicated that UK officials were communicating with ISIS about the British hostage but again ruled out paying any ransom for his release.

Cameron is attending a NATO summit in Wales where he will discuss a possible military intervention in Iraq with other world leaders.

Meanwhile, US president Barack Obama had yesterday vowed to destroy the ISIS and said that justice would be served after it beheaded a second American citizen and put up the video on the internet.

Sotloff was killed by the group on Tuesday night.

In the video, the ISIS had blamed Obama's decision to conduct air strikes against the militant group in Iraq for the execution.

The video of another journalist, James Foley's execution was released last month.

The ISIS had demanded a USD 132 million ransom for Foley's release.

With PTI inputs