Syria behind IS attacks in Iraq, says Turkish president

Photo: Syria behind IS attacks in Iraq, says Turkish president / Turkey

The actions of the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad have given rise to militant groups such as the Islamic State, Turkey's new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, Anadolu Agency reported.

"The source [of IS attacks in Iraq] is Syria and al-Qaeda. Unfortunately, it is cruel Assad who is behind the increase of such militant groups, especially in Syria," Erdogan said at an interview aired on Al Jazeera Turk's online news channel on Friday evening.

In his first interview after being elected as Turkey's 12th President on Tuesday, Erdogan said that terrorist groups emerge in countries with no stable government, resulting in al-Qaeda giving birth to the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL.

"IS started out in Syria, and has moved onto Iraq. It is our wish that the new Iraqi government eliminate the chaos which feeds such groups," Erdogan said.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stepped aside on August 14 for Haider al-Abadi, who was appointed three days earlier by President Fouad Massoum as the prime minister-designate.

The United States, Turkey and Iran, as well as Iraqi Kurdish, Sunni, Shiite groups have welcomed the nomination of the former deputy parliamentary chairman, who must form a unity government within a month.

"We want Iraqi people to be as one. I pray that Iraq will stand up again in unity," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey is hopeful that a new national consensus government will be formed soon as a divided Iraq would be very dangerous, and conflicts in the country would never end.

"We support Iraq's territorial integrity. The more united a country is, the more powerful it gets."

A coalition of armed groups linked to the Islamic State took control of large parts of Iraq's predominantly Sunni provinces in June and announced an Islamic caliphate.

The Iraqi army has been trying to reverse the gains the insurgents made in the west of the country, while the fight is in full force between the Islamic State and the peshmerga -- the military force of the Kurdish administration -- in northern Iraq.

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