Iraqi Leader Asks World Powers to Pursue ISIS in Syria

September 15th, 2014 by Staff

French President Francois Hollande says the global threat posed by Islamic State (IS) militants must meet a global response.

He was opening an international summit of foreign ministers in Paris aimed at combating the jihadist group.

About 40 countries, including 10 Arab states, have signed up to a coalition to help fight IS in Iraq and Syria.

The conference follows a whirlwind tour of the Middle East by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Mr Kerry, who is also attending the summit, has been drumming up support for a plan of action unveiled by President Barack Obama last week.

The murder of British aid worker David Haines by IS militants, shown in a video released by the group on Saturday, has added momentum to the plans, says the BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Paris.

Islamic State controls large parts of Iraq and Syria. The CIA estimates that the group could have as many as 30,000 fighters in the region.

‘Bigger threat’
Iraqi President Fuad Masum, who is co-hosting the conference, said the international community must pursue the jihadists wherever they were.

He told Europe 1 radio: “They must intervene quickly because they are late. If this intervention and support to Iraq is late, that means that Islamic State could occupy more territory and the threat it poses will be even bigger.”

In his opening remarks, Mr Hollande called for support to moderate rebels in Syria.

“Chaos plays into the terrorists’ hands,” he said.

“Therefore we have to support those who are able to negotiate and make the necessary compromise in order to preserve the future of Syria, and for France those are the forces of the democratic opposition.”

Earlier, France said it had begun surveillance flights over Iraq. Britain revealed in August that its aircraft had been gathering intelligence over Iraq.

Several Arab countries have offered to take part in air strikes on IS fighters in Iraq, US officials say.

Turkey, however, will only allow humanitarian and logistical operations from the Nato air base on its soil.

Mr Kerry said he was “extremely encouraged” by promises of military assistance to tackle the militant group.

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