Iraqi Army to Respond If Turkey’s Forces Hamper Mosul Liberation from ISIS

Iraqi Army to Respond If Turkey’s Forces Hamper Mosul Liberation from ISIS
Fri Oct 7, 2016 12:02:14

Iraqi forces have warned that they may attack occupying Turkish forces deployed to the north should they intervene in an upcoming operation to liberate the city of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh ISIL) terrorists.

The central Iraqi government and the Shia volunteer fighters, who are helping the army in its anti-terror battles, think Turkey has deployed its troops outside Mosul to “provide the required facilities” for ISIS terrorists “and get a foothold inside Mosul,” a senior commander of Shia forces told the Middle East Eye (MEE) on condition of anonymity.

Last December, Turkey deployed some 150 soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons and backed by 20 to 25 tanks, to the outskirts of Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s northern Nineveh Province which fell to ISIS in 2014.

Ankara claimed the deployment was part of a mission to train and equip Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS, but Baghdad denounced the unauthorized move as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

Tensions between Iraq and Turkey have soared in recent days as Iraqi government forces and allied volunteer fighters are preparing for a large military offensive to cleanse Mosul of ISIS terrorists.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the presence of Turkish forces in Iraq complicates the liberation operation, which will be carried out by national Iraqis with no foreign troops involved. He has also warned that Turkish provocative actions could even trigger a new “regional war.”

The report further quoted an unnamed Iraqi security official as saying that Baghdad “seeks to make clear that there is absolutely no role for Turkish forces in the Iraqi sphere.”

“Any movement or intervention by Turkish during the military operations (to retake Mosul), would be faced with a very strong response,” the official warned.
Iraqi officials interviewed by the MEE also said that the Iraqi government is trying to deal with these “occupation forces” through political and diplomatic channels.

Earlier this week, the Iraqi parliament adopted a resolution asking the government to consider Turkish troops as “occupation forces.” The chamber also slammed Ankara for extending its military mandate on Iraqi soil for another year.

Baghdad has called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting over the presence of Turkish troops on its territory.

On Thursday, however, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said, “No one has the right to object Turkey’s presence in Iraq when the country is fragmented that much.”

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