BAGHDAD, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday pledged to continue airstrikes on positions and headquarters of Islamic State (IS) group inside neighboring Syria, asserting that Iraq will not interfere in Syrian affairs.
"We will continue airstrikes in Syria and we will do more to eliminate Daesh (IS group). We will not allow IS militants to come back, nor establishing a similar thing (terrorist organization) to appear," Abadi told a press conference after weekly cabinet meeting.
Abadi confirmed that IS militants have not finished yet in Syria, "but doesn't mean to interfere in Syrian affairs, as the Syrian people will determine their own destiny."
"Iraq will pursue Daesh militants anywhere," Abadi said, adding that Iraq will not allow IS terrorists to regroup in Iraq, as they will not find breeding ground inside Iraq anymore.
He said that IS group has suffered fiasco in both Iraq and Syria, but the complex situation in Syria and the ongoing conflict on the ground gave a breathing chance for IS group in eastern Syria near the border with Iraq.
On April 19, Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, ordered Iraqi F-16 fighter jets to carry out airstrikes on IS positions inside Syria near the border with Iraq, leaving 36 IS militants killed, including five of the group's leaders.
Previously, the Iraqi air force carried out such preemptive airstrikes against IS militants inside Syria with Iraqi F-16 fighter jets.
On Dec. 9, 2017, Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.