Iraq PM opposes foreign ground forces in Iraq
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi - REUTERS
AFP

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi opposes the deployment of foreign ground forces in Iraq as part of efforts to combat jihadists, his office said on Monday.

During a meeting with Australian Defense Minister David Johnston in Baghdad, Abadi reaffirmed his “rejection of any ground intervention in Iraq,” a statement said

Both the United States and France have carried out airstrikes against jihadists in Iraq, a campaign that is likely to be expanded to neighboring Syria.

But Washington has repeatedly asserted that it would not deploy ground troops to the country in which its forces fought a bloody and costly war before withdrawing at the end of 2011.

However, the United States has already deployed hundreds of military personnel to Iraq since June for tasks that include advising Baghdad’s forces.

And the Pentagon has said that it will fly combat aircraft from a base in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region as part of a “more aggressive” air campaign against the militants.

Militants led by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group launched a major offensive in June, seizing Iraq’s second city Mosul and then overrunning much of the Sunni Arab heartland, sweeping security forces aside.

IS last month launched a renewed push in the north that drove Kurdish forces back towards their regional capital Arbil, sparking the American air campaign.

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