Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. AP file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s foreign minister signaled alarm about the consequences of the US hitting the Syrian regime, saying any missile attack against Damascus would be “horrendous.”
“An airstrike on Syria would be horrendous and regretful, and a catastrophic defeat in the real sense of the word,” Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraq’s foreign minister warned after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh on Friday. “It will put all world countries in jeopardy.”
“While we were asleep last night, the whole Syrian people, especially women and children, were shivering with fear over the possibility of a foolish assault,” he said, adding that Iraqi would not allow such a “foolish move.”
US President Donald Trump has vowed to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in the city of Douma. France and the UK have expressed their support for military action, but no decision has been made yet.
Syria’s ambassador to the UN told the Security Council on Friday that his country would defend itself it the US, UK, and France attacked.
“This is not a threat. This is a promise,” said Bashar Jaafari.
Damascus ally Russia has condemned the sabre rattling, accusing the US, UK, and France of using chemical weapons as a pretense, masking their real goal of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and deterring Russia.
No coordination with Turkey against PKK
The Iraqi minister also confirmed that there is no coordination between Baghdad and Ankara against the PKK in areas of the Kurdistan Region.
“This is not on the ground yet,” Jaafari said, but added Baghdad would not allow any armed group to use Iraqi territory to attack a neighbor.
“We understand that the principle of good neighborliness or ‘no harm’ prohibits a state using its territory to harm its neighbors,” he said.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not seek permission from anyone in order to deal with the PKK if Iraq does not do so.
The PKK has withdrawn from Shingal, where their forces had been for about three years responding to the threat of ISIS against the Yezidi-majority area. Iraqi forces have assumed security for the area.