Iraqi PM to share anti-ISIS intel with Russia

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi says Baghdad is willing to share anti-ISIS intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iraqi PM Haider al Abadi addresses attendees during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly at its Headquarters in New York, September 30, 2015.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi announced on Saturday that Iraq will share anti-ISIS intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria if cooperation is requested.

“We have been fighting ISIS more than a year and we have some important security information that no other country has regarding ISIS,” Abadi stated during a press conference which took place at the presidential office in the capital.

Abadi also stated that he would welcome military equipment assistance from Iran, Syria or Russia, while referring to Moscow’s recent aerial bombardments in Syria in support of regime leader Bashar al Assad.

“There aren’t any obstacles preventing the coalition of four [i.e. Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq] from arming the Iraqi military against ISIS,” he said.

Russia’s intervention in Syria began on September 30 which launched its first air strikes on civilians residing in opposition-controlled districts rather than on ISIS militant groups.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said following Moscow’s action in Syria that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “shoring up Assad and perpetuating the suffering.”

UK, US, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all condemned Russia’s intervention in Syria, stating that it was clearly not targeting ISIS.

On the other hand, Iraqi President Fuad Masum welcomed Moscow’s aerial engagement in Syria earlier this week, and PM Abadi announced adding that Baghdad is patching up a plan which involves Russian air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.

Iraq’s northern Kurdish administration also showed willingness to cooperate with the four countries.

"Kurdistan region is an active part of US-led anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq," Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government's leader Masoud Barzani said in a written statement late Saturday, as he pushed for coordination between the international coalition and Moscow against ISIS so as to "get better results.”

Barzani further emphasized that the Kurdish region would gladly receive any possible Russian backing for the peshmerga forces, which he characterized as the leading force in the battle against ISIS militant groups and their growing presence in the region.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said late Thursday that “we are not planning to expand our air strikes in Iraq,” placing Iraq in an dreary situation.

Moscow also faced a warm welcome from Syria’s YPG, as the President of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim said ''we will fight alongside whoever fights Daesh [ISIS]."

“We want Russia to provide us air support as well as weapons in our fight against the ISIS militants,” a YPG commander, Sipan Hemo, was quoted telling the Russian Sputnik news portal. “We can organize an effective cooperation with Russia on the issue.”

Russian forces plan to intensify their air strikes in Syria, according to Lieutenant General Andrey Kartapolov from Russian General Staff.

"We will not only continue our air offensives but also increase their intensity," Kartapolov added.

Civil defense members mourn the death of their comrade, who died during air strikes carried out by the Russian air force in the southern countryside of Idlib, Syria October 3, 2015.

On Saturday, Ihsim area located in Jabal al-Zawiyah region in the province of Idlib saw heavy attacks by Russian military jet, leading to the death of at least 9 civilians including three civil defense personnel.

The casualties were reported to be from the air strikes of two Russian warplanes on a farm in Ihsim in opposition-controlled Jabal al Zawiyah, a local civil defense activist, Ahmed Hafi - based in Ihsim - told Anadolu Agency.

To date, the conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year, has killed more than quarter of a million people with most of the casualties occurring as a result of regime air strikes and barrel bombings of civilian areas.

As much as half of the country’s population has also been displaced, both internally and externally, making it the world’s single-largest source of refugees and displaced people.

TRTWorld and agencies