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U.S. General Plays Down Chances Of Russian Military Action In Iraq

Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford testifies (file photo)

The top U.S. military officer has played down the chances of Russia taking military action against Islamic State militants in Iraq in the near future.

Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comment on October 20 during a visit to Iraq, his first to that country since taking up his new post.

Russia's military campaign in Syria plus its participation in a new Baghdad-based intelligence-sharing cell with Iran, Syria, and Iraq has raised concerns in Washington.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on October 1 -- the same day Dunford took over as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- that he would welcome Russian air strikes against Islamic State militants in his country.

But Dunford said U.S. officials had since been reassured that Abadi had made no such request to Moscow.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP