BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday rejected calls for an interim “national salvation government” in his first public statement since President Barack Obama challenged him last week to create a more inclusive leadership or risk a sectarian civil war.
U.S. officials, meanwhile, said there are indications that Syria launched airstrikes into western Iraq on Tuesday in an attempt to slow the insurgency fighting both the Syrian and Iraqi governments.
Officials said the strikes appeared to be the work of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, which is locked in a bloody civil war with opposition groups. The target of the attacks was the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has been fighting along with the rebels opposed to Assad and seeks to carve out a purist Islamic enclave across both sides of the Syria-Iraq border.
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