Iraq-Syria relations do not mean approval of Assad’s practices: FM

Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Baghdad ( Iraq’s relations with Syria do not mean Baghdad approves ever action by the Syrian regime, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in statements on Wednesday.

“Syria is now posing a danger to neighboring states…Iraq’s relation with the Syrian regime does not mean we approve some of its actions,” the minister said in statements quoted by al-Sabaah newspaper during his participation in an Arab League emergency meeting on the situation in Syria’s Aleppo.

“Iraq is for the safety of the Syrian people, and denounces terrorism from any local, regional or international party,” Jaafari said.

Syrian army troops, backed by Russian air forces, recently recaptured rebel-held Aleppo, the biggest, but bloodiest, victory for Assad’s regime since the eruption of the five-year conflict. A deal has been reached between rebels and regime forces last week to evacuate thousands of civilians as well as opposition rebels from the eastern regions of the city. More than 1100 civilians have been counted as dead in military encounters in Aleppo since mid November, with Assad’s regime accused internationally of committing crimes against humanity in the city.

Jaafari had recently said that his country had not given permission to any Iraqi Shia militias to fight IS in Syria on the side of Assad’s forces. His statements came as several leaders of the Shia-led Al-Hashd al-Shaabi militia voiced readiness to move to Syria after IS is cleared from Iraq.

Bashar Al-Assad, himself from the Shia Alawite sect, already enjoys military support from Iran and Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah.

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