Saturday, December 5, 2015

Iraqi Leader Demands Withdrawal of Turkish Troops Near Mosul

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi condemned Turkey's movement of troops into northern Iraq near Mosul to train Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State, and demanded their immediate withdrawal.

In a statement December 5, Abadi said the entry of "around one armed battalion with a number of tanks and cannons" into the northern Nineveh province was a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Iraq's foreign ministry described the entry of an estimated 150 Turkish soldiers and 25 tanks as "an incursion" and rejected any military operation that was not coordinated with the federal government in Baghdad, Reuters reported.

Turkish sources said the Turkish troops were deployed December 4 as part of a "routine" exercise to provide training for Iraqi troops near Mosul, a city of more than one million people which IS captured in July 2014.

The Turkish sources maintained that Turkey already had troops in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, and the United States and other countries involved in fighting IS there were aware it was moving some troops to the Mosul area.

U.S. officials in Washington said they were aware of Turkey's move, but it was not coordinated with the anti-IS coalition operating in northern Iraq.

The United States also moved this week to beef up its special forces fighting IS in northern Iraq, and got rebuffed by the Baghdad government despite attempts to work out the arrangement ahead of time.

Abadi appears to be under pressure from powerful Shi'ite Muslim groups which fought U.S. troops during the decade-long U.S. war in Iraq and now oppose any further deployment of U.S. or foreign troops in the country.

U.S. officials say they are still trying to work out an arrangement for their special forces in negotiations with Baghdad.

One key question is whether Baghdad will have any control over raids the United States conducts exclusively with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq, given that the Kurds often insist on acting independently from the Iraqi military.

Turkey also has cultivated a close relationship with the Kurdish government and by most accounts, Turkey's movement of troops into the Mosul area is only an expansion of its current presence in the autonomous Kurdish zone.

Turkey's close partnership with the Kurdish Regional Government comes despite its frequent battles with Kurdish rebel groups at home and in Iraq.

A senior Kurdish military officer based on the Bashiqa front line, north of Mosul, told Reuters that additional Turkish trainers had arrived at a camp in the area overnight escorted by a Turkish protection force.

The camp is used by a force called Hashid Watani (national mobilization), which is made up of mainly Sunni Arab former Iraqi police and volunteers who fled Mosul after it was captured by IS.

The Watani force was formed by former governor Atheel al-Nujaifi, who is close to Turkey. There was already a small number of Turkish trainers there before this latest deployment

"Our soldiers are already in Iraq. A battalion of soldiers has gone there. Training was already being given in that region for the last two to three years. This is a part of that training," one senior Turkish official told Reuters.

Turkey previously had been criticized by its NATO allies for not doing enough to stem the rise of IS in Syria and Iraq. Turkey joined the US-led coalition against IS only this year, in late July.

Before joining the coalition, Turkey had sought to stake out a more neutral stance toward IS. In June 2014, IS militants kidnapped 49 staff from Turkey's consulate in Mosul after seizing control of the city.

They were all released unharmed three months later after secret negotiations that reportedly resulted in the release of IS prisoners in Turkey in exchange for the embassy staff, AFP reported.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP



  1. Iraq calls on Turkey to 'immediately' withdraw troops in north...

    Iraq calls on Turkey to "immediately" withdraw forces, including tanks and artillery, it has deployed in the country's north without Baghdad's consent, the premier's office said on Saturday.

    "The Iraqi authorities call on Turkey to... immediately withdraw from Iraqi territory," the statement said.

    "We have confirmation that Turkish forces, numbering about one armoured regiment with a number of tanks and artillery, entered Iraqi territory... allegedly to train Iraqi groups, without a request or authorisation from Iraqi federal authorities," it said.

    The deployment "is considered a serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty," it added.

    Turkish media reported that around 150 Turkish soldiers backed by 20 to 25 tanks had been sent by road to the Bashiqa area northeast of Mosul, the city that is the Islamic State jihadist group's main hub in Iraq.

    Peshmerga forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region are deployed in the area, and Turkey's Anatolia news agency said the troops were there to train them...................

  2. Irak fordert sofortigen Abzug türkischer Soldaten ...

    Der Irak hat die Türkei zum sofortigen Abzug ihrer Soldaten aus dem Norden des Landes aufgerufen. Die Entsendung der Einsatzkräfte sei ohne Zustimmung der irakischen Regierung erfolgt, hieß es am Samstag in einer Erklärung von Ministerpräsident Haider al-Abadi.

    Die Türkei hatte etwa 150 Soldaten in die Nähe der vom "Islamischen Staat" (IS) besetzten Stadt Mosul im Nordirak verlegt. Nach Angaben türkischer Medien handelte es sich um eine Truppenrotation im Rahmen der Ausbildungsmission der Armee für kurdische Peschmerga-Kämpfer. Türkische Soldaten sind seit zweieinhalb Jahren in der autonomen Kurdenregion im Nordirak stationiert, um die Peschmerga für den Kampf gegen die Dschihadistenmiliz IS auszubilden.

  3. Türkische Invasion in Mossul: Irakisches Parlament droht mit militärischer Antwort...

    Der Chef des Sicherheitsausschusses des irakischen Parlaments, Hakim al-Zamili, hat den türkischen Truppen, die in sein Land eingedrungen waren, mit militärischem Vorgehen gedroht, berichtet die irakische Webseite Voice of Iraq.

    Wie Medien zuvor berichteten, hatte die Türkei ein 130-köpfiges Bataillon in den Raum der Stadt Mossul im Nordirak geschickt — mit dem Ziel, die kurdischen Peshmerga-Einheiten, die gegen den IS (Daesh) kämpfen, auszubilden.

    Wie Al-Zamili aber anmerkte, sei das türkische Militärkontingent, das die Grenze zum Irak überschritten hat, Tausende Mann stark. Zudem seien neben den Truppen auch Dutzende Panzer und andere gepanzerte Flugzeuge in den Irak verlegt worden.

    Al-Zamili betonte, der Beschluss der Türkei über die Entsendung von Truppen in den Irak verletze die Souveränität des Landes. Ankara, das diesen Schritt gewagt habe, habe offensichtlich von der Peshmerga-Führung grünes Licht dafür bekommen, so der Politiker. Al-Zamili drohte, gegen die türkischen Truppen militärisch vorzugehen, wenn sie das irakische Staatsgebiet nicht unverzüglich verlassen sollten.

    Al-Zamili hat nach eigenen Worten in einem Brief an Premier Haider al-Abadi empfohlen, die Luftwaffe gegen die türkischen Truppen einzusetzen, die als Okkupationskräfte zu betrachten seien.

  4. Several hundred Turkish soldiers have been deployed to provide training for Iraqi troops in an area near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is under the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) control, a Turkish security source told Reuters on Friday...

    ISIL militants overran Mosul, a city of more than one million people, in June 2014, but a much anticipated counter-offensive by Iraqi forces has been repeatedly postponed because they are involved in fighting elsewhere.

    "Turkish soldiers have reached the Mosul Bashiqa region. They are there as part of routine training exercises. One battalion has crossed into the region," the source said, declining to say exactly how many soldiers had been deployed.

    He said troops had already been in Iraqi Kurdistan and had moved to Mosul accompanied by armored vehicles, in a move which coalition countries targeting ISIL were aware of.

    Video released on the website of Turkey's pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper showed flatbed trucks carrying armored vehicles along a road at night, describing them as a convoy accompanying the Turkish troops to Bashiqa....................


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