31 December 2018 - 08:47

<p style="text-align: left;">Iraq&amp;rsquo;s prime minister said on Sunday, December 30, that top security officials from Baghdad had met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, and hinted at a bigger Iraqi role fighting Islamic State militants as US troops withdraw from Syria.

&ldquo;This issue has a lot of complications,&rdquo; Adel Abdul Mahdi told reporters, referring to US President Donald Trump&rsquo;s surprise announcement this month that he will withdraw US forces from Iraq&rsquo;s neighbor, according to Reuters.
&ldquo;If any negative development takes place in Syria it will affect us. We have a 600 km border with Syria and Daesh (Islamic State) is there,&rdquo; Abdul Mahdi said.
According to Reuters the premier said the Iraqi delegation had visited Damascus to &ldquo;gain the initiative, not just deal with the consequences&rdquo; of any future Islamic State (IS) activity emboldened by the US withdrawal.
Iraqi news websites said the visit took place on Saturday.
Abdul Mahdi said Iraq sought to move beyond its current arrangement with Syria - under which it launches air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syrian territory - but did not got into more details.
&ldquo;There are groups operating in Syria, and Iraq is the best way to deal with this,&rdquo; he said, responding to a question about the possibility of increased involvement of Iraqi forces in Syria.
Iraqi Shiite Muslim paramilitary already operate inside Syrian territory against the militants of the Islamic State.
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