15:05 GMT14 August 2020
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    Iraq has not asked Russia for military assistance but Moscow will be ready to consider such a request if it comes, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Saturday.

    “All I can tell you is that, as of today, we haven’t received any such request from the Iraqis, similar to the one we received from [Syrian President] Bashar Assad. If such a request is made it will be considered appropriately,” Antonov told the media on the sidelines of a security conference now underway in Beijing.

    He underscored that in the case with Syria, Russia had indeed received an official written request from President Assad for military-technical assistance against the Islamic State terrorist group.

    “This means that we are acting on a legitimate basis, strictly in line with international law,” Antonov added.

    President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov earlier said that Russia had not received any request from Baghdad to carry out a military operation against ISIL.

    On September 30, Russia began airstrikes on ISIL in Syria following President Bashar Assad's request for military assistance. On October 7, Russian warships also launched a total of 26 cruise missiles at Islamic State facilities, destroying all targets.

    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, hard hit by Russian air raids and cruise missile strikes, the terrorists are now falling back along the entire frontline.


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