International cooperation to defeat the Islamic State group rose to a new level Sunday as Iraq agreed to begin sharing "security and intelligence" information with Russia, Syria and Iran. The Iraqi Joint Operations Command promised to "help and cooperate in collecting information,” the Associated Press reported.
It's the latest example of coordination between Iraq and Iran in fighting the militant group formerly known as either ISIL or ISIS, which controls about one-third of Iraq and Syria. In carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State group targets since last year, the U.S. has denied cooperating with Iran in its own bombing campaigns.
Meanwhile, Russia is continuing to invest militarily in the defense of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose regime is also supported materially by Iran. The Iraqi military mentioned Russia's concern about its citizens becoming Islamic State group terrorists and as it increases its presence on Syrian territory.
The news about Iraq's intel plans came after a French nuclear aircraft carrier entered the Persian Gulf and began airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria Friday. The carrier Charles de Gaulle and its fleet joined the American carrier USS Carl Vinson in the bombing campaign.
French President Francois Hollande said Sunday his country's airstrikes destroyed an Islamic State group training camp in eastern Syria, AP reported. France has balked at committing militarily in Syria until now, citing international law, but it indicated it was changing its tune because it discovered evidence that the Islamic State group has drawn up plans in Syria to strike France.
European leaders have called for renewed diplomatic efforts in Syria -- where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 4 million have fled since 2011 -- as refugees from the civil war have arrived in countries such as Greece and Italy, as well as elsewhere in Europe.