FORMER foreign minister Bobb Carr says Australia has a moral obligation to join airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria.
The federal government is considering a request from the US to extend air operations to Syria and Mr Carr believes the humanitarian case would justify the move.
“The West has really got a moral obligation to act where it can be argued there’s a chance of saving civilian populations from the mass atrocity crimes that seem to follow very quickly when ISIS takes control of territory,” Mr Carr told the ABC on Wednesday.
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It comes amid reports the Abbott government pushed the US to ask Australia to expand its air strikes.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama had asked him to consider expanding Australian air strikes from Iraq to Syria some weeks ago.
Fairfax Media, quoting senior government sources, reported on Wednesday that the driving force for the formal request for the RAAF to join the US air campaign in Syria actually came from Canberra.
The request is still being considered, with a decision expected within the next week.