UN envoy says Syrian conflict is helping fuel terrorist threat and sectarian tensions in Iraq

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The top U.N. envoy in Iraq says the conflict in neighboring Syria is helping fuel terrorism and sectarian tensions in Iraq, enabling groups like al-Qaida to forge links with similar factions across the border.

Nickolay Mladenov told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that resolving the Syrian crisis and adopting a regional strategy against all forms of religious or sectarian extremism "are vital to bringing stability to Iraq."

He said deteriorating security in Iraq is being exploited by terrorists and armed groups trying to incite sectarian hatred and undermine the government and elected officials.

The Security Council condemned the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Iraq "in the strongest terms" and stressed that "no terrorist act can reverse a path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction" in the country.