Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australian troops in Iraq will not engage in combat operations in the crisis-hit country.
“If we have military advisers with the headquarters of Iraqi security forces and with Peshmerga forces, obviously they’ll be moving around with those unit headquarters, but the point I stress is that there is no intention for Australia to conduct independent combat operations inside Iraq,” the Australian premier said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“There is no intention that Australia will have combat forces on the ground, we are making available special forces for the purposes of being military advisers to Iraqi and Peshmerga units and military advisers do not themselves normally engage in actual combat,” Abbott added.
On Sunday, the Australian premier said that some “400 air personnel and about 200 military personnel” would be deployed to join the US-led international coalition preparing to fight the ISIL militants in Iraq. The announcement comes after Washington formally requested Australia to contribute to the international coalition the US has been attempting to put together.
Canberra has raised its terror alert level to “high” over growing concerns that the return of the Australian members of terrorists groups fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Iraq has been fighting the ISIL terrorists since they took control of Mosul on June 10. The Takfiri terrorists currently control parts of eastern Syria and Iraq’s northern and western regions.
They have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Izadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.
Some observers believe the US and its allies are directly responsible for the rise of Takfiri terrorist groups such as ISIL in the region because of their interventionist policies, particularly in Iraq and Syria.