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Iraq says Western strikes on Syria could aid jihadists

Iraq warned that Western air strikes Saturday on Syria were a “very dangerous” development that could fuel a jihadist resurgence in the region.

Syria strikes
A photo released early on April 14, 2018 on the website of the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows an explosion on the outskirts of Damascus after Western strikes reportedly hit Syrian military bases and chemical research centres in and around the capital. AFP

A statement by foreign ministry spokesman Ahmad Mahjoub said the strikes’ “consequences threaten the security and stability of the region”.

Mahjoub said the raids carried out by the United States, France and Britain were “a very dangerous development… that will provide an opportunity for the expansion of terrorism after it was destroyed in Iraq and largely pushed back in Syria”.

He said the ministry was “worried” and called for a “political solution that would satisfy the aspirations of the Syrian people”.

Iraq’s foreign ministry also called on an Arab League summit to be held on Sunday in Saudi Arabia to “adopt a clear position concerning this dangerous development”.

The Iraqi government declared victory over the Islamic State group, which it considers a terrorist organisation, in December after pushing IS jihadists out of their final holdouts along the border with Syria.

But the group retains the capacity to strike despite losing control of vast swathes of Iraqi territory it seized in 2014 and still clings to pockets of desert in war-torn Syria.


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