Iraq sharing intel on ISIS with Russia, Syria, Iran

2015-09-27 20:15

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Baghdad - Iraq confirmed on Sunday that it had agreed to intelligence and security co-operation with Russia, Syria and Iran against the Islamic State extremist group (ISIS).

A statement from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said that the four countries would work together to pool information about the jihadist group and its affiliates.

Iraq played down the significance of the step, which comes as Russia ramps up its Syrian military presence in support of President Bashar Assad.

Baghdad was already engaged in security and military co=operation with the US-led international coalition against Islamic State and engaged in bilateral security co-operation with other Arab states, the statement said.

Russia's Interfax news agency on Saturday reported that the four countries would establish a joint information centre in the Iraqi capital which could be used in the future to coordinate military operations against Islamic State.

The Iraqi statement did not refer to an information centre but said that two Iraqi military intelligence officers would take part in the programme.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to make the case for a collective effort against the extremist group during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

The recent arrival in Syria of new Russian military supplies has raised concerns in the West.

Tehran is also a close ally of Assad, whose overstretched military is backed up by Iranian military advisers and pro-Iranian Shi'ite militias from a number of countries.

Iran also supports the Shi'ite militias, who have been a key force in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq.

The country's increasingly prominent role in Iraq, and the charges of sectarian abuses levelled at those militias, have irked the United States, which is providing air support and training to Iraq's weak official security forces.

ISIS controls much of Sunni-dominated northern and western Iraq as well as most of eastern Syria and a strategic stretch of Syria's border with Turkey north of Aleppo.

The conflict in Syria, which began in 2011 after a brutal crackdown on demonstrations against the Assad regime, has spiralled into a multi-sided war involving the government, mainly Islamist rebels, Islamic State and the Kurds.

Read more on:    isis  |  iran  |  iraq  |  russia  |  syria

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