"The battlefields are merging"

According to the U.N., 1,045 people were killed in Iraq in May – making it the deadliest month since the sectarian slaughter of 2006 and 2007 – up from 712 in April. A separate preliminary tally from June 1-19 by the Iraq Body Count project recorded 333 civilian-only casualties.

Kobler called for competing factions to respect human rights — saying that torture was widespread in Iraq — support the rule of law and work together to create a stable state.

He stressed the fighting in Iraq was part of a wider conflict.

“The problems in Iraq cannot be separated from the problems in the region. The battlefields are merging,” Kobler said.

“It’s very important the international community concentrates on Syria, but without neglecting the region. It’s here in Iraq where the fault line of the Sunni and Shia world is.”