(BAGHDAD) — There are signs that Iraq is following through on a strong request by Washington to keep tabs on Iranian planes using its airspace to transport supplies to Syria.
During his recent visit to Baghdad, Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear that the U.S. was unhappy with Iraq’s non-inspections of Iranian aircraft, which are believed to carry military assistance to forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
However, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Moussawi said on Wednesday that his country conducted thorough searches of three Syrian planes during this past week alone.
The latest was Wednesday when a 747 cargo flight from Syria was forced to land in Baghdad. As in the other two instances, al-Moussawi claimed that no weapons were found and the plane was allowed to continue to Syria.
While Baghdad has remained neutral about the Syrian conflict, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Shiite leaders are said to be deeply concerned that if al-Assad is overthrown, a Sunni government will replace it and possibly threaten the Iraqi border.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Angela Dewan and Donie O'Sullivan, CNN
Chandrika Narayan and Steve Almasy, CNN
Evan McKirdy, Tim Hume and James Masters, CNN