Syria air strikes not a long term fix

Smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the town of Suruc in this file October 18, 2014 file photo.  A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State fighters who hold a large swathe of territory in both Iraq and Syria, two countries involved in complex multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake. The Turkish military and police had declared the Turkish-Syrian border area a "military zone", which limits the ability of the press to move around.  In these days of modern warfare, the weaponry is more powerful than that in the old days. So all of my colleagues and I have to be doubly careful to ensure we do not end up in the line of fire, as positions of Kurdish YPG fighters and IS militants change quickly.  For all those reasons, to stay away is the only solution at the moment.  We ended up on hills about 2km (1.24 miles) away from Kobani using very long telephoto lenses, often more than 1000mm, to get a peek into the city while listening to the sound of war and smelling its scent.   Sometimes you see a shadow of a fighter hiding behind a building and more often you see the massive impact of heavy airstrikes.  It is a bit strange sitting there with lenses I usually use for sports photography alongside people from the area, who come to the hills to see what's going on.  They bring binoculars and make tea - making it almost seems like a tourist attraction. - Kai Pfaffenbach       REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (TURKEY - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS PICTURE IS PART OF THE PACKAGE 'PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2014 - THE PHOTOGRAPHERS' STORY'. SEARCH 'PHOTOGRAPHERS' STORY' FOR ALL IMAGES' - RTR4FOX1

Dropping bombs on Syria to protect Iraq will not be enough in the long term to help the troubled region, Labor says.

The opposition believes international efforts need to focus on reaching a political solution to ultimately remove the Assad regime in Syria, as well as stepping up humanitarian help in the short term.

The millions of people displaced from Syria need protecting from the Assad government as well as terrorist organisations like Islamic State, Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.

‘There’s Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US and its allies that all need to come to the table as part of developing a solution for Syria,’ she told ABC TV on Sunday.

She also called for Middle Eastern countries, particularly Arab League nations, to do more to help people fleeing Syria.

The federal government says years-long talks about the political situation in Syria are continuing but the immediate focus has to be on stopping terrorist organisation Islamic State.

A report in The Australian newspaper last week said Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had developed a strategy to remove Assad, which they will discuss with their US counterparts during a UN summit in three weeks.

‘There is still a significant question mark over the Assad regime and what happens there,’ Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told Sky News on Sunday.

‘Everybody I have spoken to wants to see political stability, reconstruction take place, so that people can return to their country of origin.’

While he respected the views of people who attended rallies on Saturday opposing the air strikes on Syria, he vehemently disagreed with them.

He said the reach of IS was growing and advice the government’s national security committee had was that people involved in it were all significant threats to Australia.