0134 GMT February 23, 2020
Speaking to reporters on Saturday at the 6th Xiangshan Security Forum in the Chinese capital of Beijing, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Moscow has not yet received a request for military assistance from the Iraqi government in the fight against the Takfiri terror network, but it would consider such an appeal, Tass news agency reported.
"In case we receive a request, we shall consider it accordingly", Antonov emphasized adding, "What I can say now is that as of today we do not have a request from Iraq like the one we have from [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad."
"As there are very many insinuations about Syria, I would like to stress we have a written request from Bashar Assad for a military and military-technical assistance in fighting IS (Daesh)," said the Russian official. "We stress we are acting on a legal base and in compliance with the international law."
Antonov’s remarks came following major success of the Russian airstrike campaign against foreign-backed terrorist forces across Syria and after a number of Iraqi officials complained about the ineffective aerial attacks against Daesh militants in the country claimed by the so-called US-led coalition.
Some Iraqi authorities have also expressed interest in Russia’s air force assistance to the nation as it remains engaged in a major battle against Daesh terrorists, who are still in control of a vast portion of the country’s territory.
Earlier in October, a senior Iraqi lawmaker said Baghdad was planning to officially ask Moscow to assist in airstrikes against Daesh in a bid to purge the Takfiri terrorists from the territories it still controls in the west and north of the Arab country.
“We might be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes in Iraq soon. I think in the upcoming few days or weeks Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes and that depends on their success in Syria,” said Hakim al-Zamili, who chairs Iraq’s parliamentary committee on defense and security.