Australia joins fight against ISIS

Australia will join the fight against the Islamic State and Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) with airstrikes as well as advisers on the ground in Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday.

"I want to stress that only Iraq can defeat ISIL, but Iraq shouldn't be alone, and as far as Australia and our allies are concerned, Iraq won't be alone," Abbott said.

ADVERTISEMENT

As many as eight Super Hornets were approved to engage in strikes in Iraq, Australia defense chief Mark Binskin said, according to Agence France-Presse.

On Wednesday, the Australian air force said two unarmed planes stationed at an air base outside Dubai had joined the fight in support roles, according to The Associated Press.

Similar to the more than 1,600 U.S. troops sent to Iraq, those deployed by Australia are "not envisaged" to serve in a combat role but merely help "Iraq forces with the planning and coordination of operations," Abbott said.

The troop's deployment is "subject to final legal documentation," Abbott noted.

Last month, Canada also sent dozens of troops to advise in Iraq.

Abbott did not comment on joining U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria to combat the group, saying that the mission in Iraq would be "quite lengthy."

"It will be as long as it needs to be but as short as it possibly can be," he said.

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has carried out more than 230 airstrikes in Iraq since Aug. 8 and another 76 in Syria, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said earlier this week.

Britain's Royal Air Force dropped two bombs on Tuesday, supporting Kurdish troops fighting ISIS in northwest Iraq. Belgium and Denmark, which also voted last week to join the fight in Iraq, have yet to conduct airstrikes. France is also involved.