SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says Baghdad has not asked for ground operations by the US-led coalition against ISIL militants.
“We asked for air and logistical support such as military equipment and armament. But we didn’t ask for the setting up military bases or for sending in troops,” Jaafari said in a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Baghdad on Monday.
The top British diplomat, for his part, said the US-led coalition’s airstrikes would not be enough to defeat the ISIL terrorists, calling for “heavy work on the ground” by Iraqi forces.
“The coalition can only deliver effective support to the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces,” Hammond said, adding, “The Iraqi people, the Iraqi security forces and Iraqi government will have to take the lead on the ground.”
The British foreign secretary also defended the coalition’s air raids as effective in halting ISIL terrorist group’s advance, saying the militants have changed their tactics.
“We always understood that our campaign alone was not effective to be decisive in turning the tide against ISIL. But it has halted the ISIL advance, it has forced ISIL to change its tactics and it is degrading their military capabilities and their economic strength, their ability to exploit oil revenues, for example,” Hammond said.
Since late September, the United States and its Arab allies have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions inside Syria, without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate. The US also started its airstrikes on Iraq in early August.
Many countries in the so-called US-led coalition against ISIL, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have supported the Takfiri militants over the past years.
In late September, British MPs voted to back the UK joining the US-led airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq.
The UK Defense Ministry said in a statement on September 30 that British warplanes conducted their first aerial strikes against ISIL Takfiri terrorists in northwestern Iraq.