Mon Jan 30, 2017 06:25PM
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addresses a press conference in Belgrade on December 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addresses a press conference in Belgrade on December 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has expressed readiness to provide the Iraqi government with assistance in the country’s fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the announcement on Monday, saying that Moscow would help Iraq’s anti-terror fight only “with Baghdad’s consent.”

"In broader terms, we should not forget that ISIL (Daesh) is operating not only in Syria, but also in Iraq," Lavrov said in a meeting with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh.

"I do not rule out that, if the Iraqi authorities show interest, we will be able to provide additional support to them, at least in terms of intelligence data, but in other forms as well,” he added.

Iraqi army soldiers, supported by fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, are currently engaged in joint operations to purge key areas in the country of the Takfiri terrorist group.

Daesh still maintains firm control over the western quarter of Mosul, the terror group’s last urban stronghold in the country.

Moscow launched its campaign against Daesh and other terror outfits in Iraq's neighbor, Syria, at the request of the Damascus government in September 2015. Its air raids have helped Syrian forces advance against foreign-backed terrorists wreaking havoc in the Middle Eastern state since 2011.

This is while the US-led coalition has also been conducting airstrikes against what are claimed to be positions of Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

The coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.

The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, estimates that over 400,000 people have so far been killed in the conflict.