Iraq opposes use of airspace to strike Syria
AFP, Monday 26 Aug 2013
As Western nations deliberate military response to Syria, neighboring Iraq rejects use of its airspace or territory to attack war-torn country


Iraq said Monday it opposes the use of its airspace or territory in any attack on Syria, as Western powers warn of possible military action against Damascus.

"We do not agree to any use of our airspace ... to attack any neighbouring country through our land," Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's spokesman told AFP, asked if Baghdad would authorise the use of its airspace in any action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"Our position is fixed on this subject."

The West appears to be moving closer to a military response over last Wednesday's suspected deadly chemical weapons attack near Damascus that shocked the world after grisly pictures emerged of dead children with horrific injuries.

Washington and its allies have pointed the finger of blame at Assad's regime for the alleged attack, the latest atrocity in a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people since March 2011.

Iraq has sought to publicly avoid taking sides in the civil war between Assad and rebels seeking his ouster, but the conflict has spilled over the border on several occasions.

The United States has repeatedly called on Iraq to stop flights allegedly carrying arms from Iran to the Syrian regime. Iraq insists Iran has reduced flights transporting arms to Syria but said Baghdad cannot stop them completely.

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