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Australia will consult with Iran over possible expansion of air strikes to Syria

August 27, 2015, 9:20 UTC+3 SYDNEY
At the end of last week, Australian PM said he had received an official request from Washington to expand Royal Australian Air Force air strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria
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© AP Photo/Diaa Hadid

SYDNEY, August 27. /TASS/. Australia would consult with Iran over possible plans to expand air strikes to Syria, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in an interview published by Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday.

"If the Australian government agrees to the US request to expand its air combat operations against Daesh [alternative name for the Islamic State terrorist organization] into Syria, the government would consult with a number of other nations including Iran," Bishop said. "I have consulted with the Iranian leadership in the past on Australia's military role in Iraq, including training members of the Iraqi army. Australia conducts regular dialogue with Iran on a range of important bilateral, regional and international issues affecting both of our countries. This includes the activities of Daesh in Iraq and Syria," she continued.

At the end of last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he had received an official request from Washington to expand RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) air strikes against Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria. Abbott added that he will answer to the request in the next two weeks.

There are currently eight jets and around 400 RAAF servicemen stationed at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. Australian forces deliver air strikes at IS positions only in Iraq. More than 300 Australian servicemen are stationed in Iraq, but they do not take part in fighting, only serving as instructors for Iraqi armed units.

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