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Iraq May Ask Russia for Airstrikes Against Islamic State

© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov / Go to the photo bankRussian tactical group seen at Hmeimim aerodrome in Syria
Russian tactical group seen at Hmeimim aerodrome in Syria - Sputnik International
According to the head of Iraq's parliament's defence and security committee, Baghdad may soon request Russian air support in battling the Islamic State.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Iraq may turn to Russia for military help in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIL) if Russian airstrikes in Syria prove successful, the head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee told Sputnik on Wednesday.

“Iraq may turn to Russia with a request to conduct airstrikes against the positions of Islamic State militants in Iraq if Russia is successful in Syria, that is if the airstrikes are effective and actual, and if we see that Russia [is operating] effectively in Syria,” Haqim Zamli said.

Zamli specified that the recently created Baghdad Information Center would assess the effectiveness of Russia’s ongoing airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria. A report will then be published by the Iraqi parliamentary defense committee or the Iraqi government, he added.

The lawmaker told media outlets earlier in the day that Baghdad wanted Moscow to play a larger role in the anti-ISIL campaign than the United States. Last Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi told French television that he was open to Russian involvement in anti-ISIL operations in the country.

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Russian officials have declined to comment on Abadi’s remarks, while Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had not received an official request from Iraq. Upper House Speaker Valentina Matvienko said on Tuesday the Federation Council would consider the political and military viability of Russian anti-IS airstrikes in Iraq if that request was made.

Russian combat aircraft have been conducting precision airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria since September 30, following a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, its airstrikes have already done considerable damage to Islamic State's command and logistics networks, as well as to the infrastructure needed to equip suicide bombers.

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