Iran’s deputy foreign minister reportedly said on Saturday that his country has exchanged messages with the US about the fight against Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria and Iraq.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted by Iranian media, in what would be a rare confirmation of Iran-US discussions over Isis, as saying Iran had warned Washington that Israel would be at risk should the US and its allies seek to topple the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, while fighting the extremist group.
Iran has backed Assad in Syria’s three-year civil war. The US has called for Assad to resign and rules out co-operating with his government.
The US carried out six air strikes near the Syrian town of Kobani on Saturday, targeting Isis militants besieging the town. According to a statement from US Central Command, the strikes hit an Isis fighting position and two small units, damaged a command-and-control facility and destroyed three trucks.
US Central Command also said US and Dutch planes had carried out three strikes against Isis targets in Iraq, near Tal Afar and Hit, on Friday and Saturday, alongside “multiple airdrops to help resupply Iraqi security forces at the request of the government of Iraq”.
Isis fighters control swathes of Syria and northern Iraq and have released videos showing the murders of international hostages. US airstrikes against Isis in Iraq began on 8 August; international strikes in Syria began on 22 September.
Debate has continued about the effectiveness of the US-led strikes, particularly in Syria. On Thursday, the White House admitted that without a viable force on the ground in Syria, drawn from anti-Assad rebels, air strikes could only have a limited effect.