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Australia calls on more European nations to join anti-IS air strike

Xinhua, August 31, 2015 Adjust font size:

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has on Monday urged major European nations to band together to help fight Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Speaking to the media in Canberra, Julie Bishop said the " humanitarian crisis" that is forcing thousands of refugees out of war-torn Syria could be stopped if more nations agreed to bomb IS targets.

She said by stopping IS advances, the number of asylum seekers coming from Syria would drop, as they would not be in as much danger from IS militants.

"There's more countries can do in terms of supporting the air strikes which are proving effective in stopping Daesh (the IS) from claiming territory off sovereign governments," Bishop said.

She said up to 40 percent of all asylum seekers attempting to reach Europe were Syrian, but that number could drop if coalition nations ramped up the efforts against the IS.

She said some nations were ill-equipped to deal with asylum seekers.

"The crisis that is unfolding in Europe will focus their attention. This humanitarian crisis is unprecedented," Bishop told the media.

"It will focus their attention on trying to resolve the situation at its source and that will include a military and political solution in both Syria and Iraq."

Australia, which has aerial presence in Iraq, is considering a request from the United States that would result in Australian F/A- 18 Hornets undertaking bombing missions in Syria.

Bishop said if more European nations joined the fight, then other Middle Eastern nations could be swayed to enter the war as well.

Currently no European nations are conducting air strikes in Syria, while Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Britain are bombing IS targets in Iraq. Endi