Iraq has given Russia permission to hit Islamic State group targets inside its borders, adding to the awkward tensions between Washington and Moscow, which are both now independently bombing the terror organization in its strongholds of Syria and Iraq, according to an Iraqi security official. The decision comes just days after a U.S. diplomatic envoy sought assurances from the Baghdad government that it would not allow Russian jets to conduct operations inside Iraq.
Hakem al-Zamli, head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, said Friday that the new strikes would help weaken ISIS by cutting off its supply routes into Syria, according to the Anadolu News Agency, a state-run media group in Turkey.
Russia has been keen to weaken the terror group’s supply routes into Syria since Moscow sanctioned bombing raids in support of the authoritarian Bashar Assad regime in late September. Russian jets have conducted hundreds of bombing raids against ISIS and rebel Syrian factions, coming in close contact with U.S. jets that are exclusively targeting the Islamic State group.