Iraq PM confirms Syria’s assistance in fight against ISIS

27 June 2014 (Last Updated June 27th, 2014 08:43)

Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has confirmed that Syrian forces have carried out air strikes on Isis militants but said that the attacks took place within Syria.

Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has confirmed that Syrian forces have carried out air strikes on Isis militants but said that the attacks took place within Syria.

Welcoming Syrian action, Maliki told BBC: "Yes, Syrian jets did strike Qaim inside the Syrian side of the border.

"There was no co-ordination involved. But we welcome this action. We actually welcome any Syrian strike against Isis... But we didn't make any request to Syria. They carry out their strikes and we carry out ours and the final winners are our two countries."

Earlier media reports suggested that Syria struck targets within Iraq killing more than 55 civilians on 24 June.

The prime minister said that the militant forces could have been controlled had the US supplied its jets sooner. Iraq purchased 36 jet fighters from the US but their delivery process had been 'slow and very long-winded'.

"Assistance from Syria and Iran came at a time when the US was reluctant to send its armed forces to Iraq. Russia has also offered to help Iraq."

"I'll be frank and say that we were deluded when we signed the contract. We should have sought to buy other jet fighters like British, French and Russian to secure the air cover for our forces; if we had air cover we would have averted what had happened," Maliki said.

Iraq had, in the outset, sought US to carry out air strikes to avoid the advancement of Isis rebels; the request was rejected by the Obama Government which agreed to send 300 advisers.

Assistance from Syria and Iran came at a time when the US was reluctant to send its armed forces to Iraq. Another major rival of US, Russia, has also offered to help Iraq.

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised full support to Iraq in fighting the terrorists, reports said.

Iraq is acquiring used Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia and Belarus and they are expected to arrive in two or three days.

"God willing, within one week this force will be effective and will destroy the terrorists' dens," Maliki added.

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