Former UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said on Sunday that the current crisis in Iraq arose due to the international community's negligence of the conflict in neighboring Syria.
Brahimi told AFP that the international community's inaction on the conflict in Syria had precipitated the crisis in Iraq.
"It is a well known rule: a conflict of this kind (in Syria) cannot stay confined within the borders of one country," Brahimi said.
The international community "unfortunately neglected the Syrian problem and did not help to resolve it. This is the result," said Brahimi, who resigned from his post as UN-Arab League representative to Syria in May.
The Algerian statesman briefly served as UN special envoy for Iraq in 2004, following the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the regime of executed dictator Saddam Hussein.
He stressed that he had told the UN Security Council in November that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the powerful group spearheading the offensive in Iraq, was "ten times more active in Iraq than in Syria."
-------- Iraq conflict spreads to northwest
Meanwhile, the terrorist offensive spread to the northwest of the country on Sunday, when militants launched a dawn raid on a town close to the Syrian border and clashed with police and government forces.
As the rapid advance south by the ISIL towards Baghdad appeared to slow over the weekend, fierce fighting erupted in the town of Tal Afar 60 km (40 miles) west of Mosul near the Syrian border, security sources and a local official said, Reuters reported.
ISIL fighters and other armed groups have stormed several towns on the road to Baghdad after seizing Mosul nearly a week ago - an offensive which only stalled as it approached the mainly Shia capital.
Maliki's security forces and allied militias regained some territory on Saturday, easing part of the pressure on his government, and officials said they were regaining the initiative. Maliki has vowed to rout the insurgents.
"The situation is disastrous in Tal Afar. There is crazy fighting and most families are trapped inside houses, they can’t leave town," a local official said. "If the fighting continues, a mass killing among civilians could result."
Government forces are using helicopter gunships against ISIL on the outskirts of Tal Afar, a member of Maliki's security committee told Reuters.
Over Mosul, an Iraqi military jet came under anti-aircraft fire from ISIL fighters, witnesses said. It was not immediately clear whether it was preparing to attack ISIL positions or was carrying out reconnaissance.
U.S. warships deployed to Persian Gulf
In another development, the U.S. military has deployed three warships in the Persian Gulf area in order to give the U.S. president the option of potentially ordering airstrikes against suspected al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in Iraq.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to move into the Persian Gulf on Saturday.
The 103,000-ton warship is accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun, which carry a large number of Tomahawk missiles, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The ships were due to arrive in the Persian Gulf late on Saturday.
"The order will provide the Commander-in-Chief additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
On Friday, Obama said , “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq's security forces.”
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