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Any military escalation in Syria terrible for Middle East security, stability: Iraq FM

(Web Desk) – Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has warned of the huge dangers of a military escalation in Syria, stating that any further act of aggression against the conflict-plagued Arab country will undermine security and stability in the Middle East region.

Speaking in a telephone conversation with Acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan on Sunday, Jaafari stressed the need for a political solution to the ongoing Syrian conflict, noting that the Syrian people must determine their own destiny.

The top Iraqi diplomat emphasized Baghdad government’s strong opposition to the production and use of chemical weapons, stating that Iraq has been a victim of such armament.

“Any escalation in Syria will negatively affect the security and stability of the region as a whole, and will give terrorism the opportunity to re-emerge following its defeat in Iraq and its decline in Syria.

“The threat of terrorism threatens all countries of the world, and that the courage for peace is more important than the courage for war,” Jaafari said.

Sullivan, for his part, alleged that the US-led airstrikes on Syria targeted three facilities for chemical weapons, and that Washington sought to avoid civilian casualties.

Early on Saturday, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack against the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation rejected by the Syrian government.

Pentagon said in a statement that at least 58 missiles had struck Shayrat airbase in the western Syrian city of Homs. An unnamed US official said Tomahawk missiles were used in the strikes.

The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force said four Tornado GR4s fighter jets joined in the operation, while France said it had deployed Mirage and Rafale fighter jets.

Russian General Staff spokesman General Sergei Rudskoy, however, said Syrian air defense systems had intercepted at least 71 cruise missiles fired during the US-led aggression.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow on Saturday, Rudskoy said at least 103 cruise missiles, including Tomahawks, had been fired into a number of targets in Syria.

“Russia has fully restored the air defense system of Syria, and it continues to improve it over the last six months,” he said.

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