Iraq urges U.S.-led coalition to prevent Islamic State escape to Syria

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday it was the duty of the U.S.-led coalition to prevent Islamic State militants from escaping into nearby Syria from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The coalition is providing air and ground support to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces that launched an offensive on Monday to retake Mosul, Islamic State's last major urban stronghold in Iraq which it captured in 2014. "It is the responsibility of the coalition to cut the road to Syria for Daesh," Iraqi state television quoted Abadi as saying, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused the coalition earlier on Tuesday of planning to allow safe passage into Syria for IS militants fleeing the battle for Mosul. (Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; editing by Mark Heinrich)