Iraqi forces may operate against Daesh terrorists inside neighboring Syria: Expert
A consultant to the Baghdad government on the anti-Daesh campaign says Iraqi government forces may launch an operation in neighboring Syria in a bid to prevent them from infiltrating back into the war-battered Arab country.
Hisham al-Hashimi said on Wednesday that even though troops could be dropped into Syria, the plan does not involve sending ground forces over the border at this stage.
The remarks came a few days after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described the presence of Daesh militants in Syria as a real danger.
He stated that Iraqi military forces have plans to launch a cross-border operation to fight against the Takfiri terrorists on the territory of Syria.
“The situation in Syria remains a real challenge and we are focused on finding a solution. We have gone from fighting terrorism in Iraq to fighting terrorism in Syria,” Abadi told reporters on Saturday during his weekly press conference.
The Iraqi prime minister noted that the plans have been discussed with Iraqi military commanders, stressing that Baghdad did not intend to violate any country’s sovereignty.
“Our project has developed from fighting terror in Iraq to fighting terror in the region…. [But] we do not want to exceed our limits, and we will not transgress those of other countries,” Abadi noted.
On December 9 last year, the Iraqi prime minister declared the end of military operations against the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab country.
“Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh,” he told a conference in Baghdad.
On July 10, Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
In the run-up to Mosul’s liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.
Iraqi forces then launched operations to eliminate Daesh and retake lost territory, and last month, Iraqi forces liberated Rawa, the last remaining town in the grip of the terror outfit.