Abadi would welcome Russian Air Forces to fight ISIS in Iraq

Iraq's PM Haider Abadi says that they would welcome Russian Air Forces, complains about lack of air support from US-led coalition forces

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iraqi PM Haider al Abadi addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York

Updated Oct 2, 2015

Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi said on Thursday that they would welcome Russian air strikes against ISIS in his country.

Iraqi government complained about the lack of air support to Iraqi forces fighting against ISIS from the US-led Combined Joint Task Force, (CJTF) under Operation Inherent Resolve.

The United States has been carrying out air strikes against ISIS in Iraq for more than a year.

On the other hand, Russia announced on Wednesday that they started bombing ISIS and “other terrorist groups” in Syria.

Abadi responded to the question of whether Iraq has discussed air strikes with Russia in his country, in an interview with France 24 television by saying “Not yet.”

Abadi will not reject the offer if he is presented with one, as he said “It is a possibility. If we get the offer we’ll consider it and would welcome it.”

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov told to reporters regarding the matter that, Russia is not planning to extend their air strikes into Iraq.

"We were not invited or asked," Lavrov said. "We are a polite people as you know. We don't come if we're not invited."

Meanwhile, air strikes conducted by Russia targeted rebel held areas on Wednesday in Syria and also bombed camps run by rebels trained by the CIA, according to the groups’ commander.

"We were expecting the international coalition, Americans to bring massive air power to protect our forces," Abadi told France 24.

He also added "We haven't received that. At the moment we are getting support, but it's not major, it's limited. What matters for us is how best to fight Daesh [referring ISIS.]"

Iraq started to conduct military operations on September 27 and decided to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria to counter the threat from ISIS.

"It is in our interest to share information with Russia. Russia has a lot of information. The more information we gather the more I can protect the Iraqi people," Abadi said.

However, according to Reuters, diplomats and officials said Abadi may utilize the developing Russian presence against the US, as he seeks weapons from Washington.

Abadi also said that Iraq has been getting “massive” and “very useful” intelligence on ISIS from the Syrian Government.

Abadi also said that the number of Iranian experts and advisers in his country "did not exceed 110" and "they are giving us expertise, training and know-how."

"Iran is helping us. They don't have soldiers or boots on the ground," Abadi said.

When asked whether Russia is targeting the non-ISIS militias in Syria, Abadi said that Russian President, Vladimir Putin told him that Russia has interest in hitting ISIS because Putin has a fear that the ISIS militants could return to Russia and carry out attacks.

"I can see a sea change (in the fight against ISIS), but I hope it is in the right direction," Abadi said. "Our aim is to bring everybody together to fight Daesh [ISIS] and not fight among themselves."

TRTWorld and agencies