Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has called on European nations to launch air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, as the Australian government considers a request to do the same.
Last week, the US formally asked for an extension of Royal Australian Air Force targets. Without signalling Australia’s position, the Minister said Europe “must” intervene.
“Countries adjoining Syria and Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and others are bearing the brunt of millions of people fleeing into their borders and then into Europe,” Ms Bishop told The Australian.
“That’s why I believe the Europeans must be involved in the coalition airstrikes and the effort in Syria and Iraq.”
The Federal Government is yet to make a formal decision on its own involvement in Syria.
Ms Bishop said political instability along the Syria-Iraq border triggered the US request for Australian assistance.
One political commentator labelled the request as politically motivated.
“It’s not going to have any real operational impact given the weight of sorties that we will be able to bring to bear,” The Lowy Institute’s Rodger Shanahan told The Age.
“So if it’s not operationally significant the question is why do it?
“Therefore there must be a political reason for doing it, best known only to the government.”