The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-‘Abadi, has informally requested to have the Russian Air Force begin airstrikes above the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) positions inside the country after meeting with a Russian military delegation on Saturday.

According to a source from the Syrian Air Force Intelligence, another Russian military delegation arrived in Baghdad on Saturday to discuss the utilization of Iraqi airspace to combat the terrorist group’s operations in eastern Syria; this reportedly led to Premier ‘Abadi’s informal request for Russian airstrikes above the terrorist group’s positions in western Iraq.

In order for the Russian Air Force to be given the green-light to begin airstrikes in Iraq, the Iraqi Parliament will have to vote on this military escalation before the Russians can move any aerial assets into the country.

Iraqi-Russo diplomatic relations have gradually improved since the election of Haider Al-‘Abadi in 2014; this has also boosted military ties between the two countries, as the Russian Government has sold a large stock of military equipment to the Iraqi Armed Forces in the last 8 months.

Should the Russian Air Force be granted the full authority to carry out airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, they will have to move in more aerial assets to the Middle East, while also sharing the Iraqi airspace with the U.S. led “Anti-ISIS Coalition.”

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