Iraqi president slams Turkish military deployment in Mosul

Iraqi President Fuad Masum claims presence of Turkish soldiers in Iraqi town Mosul violates international rules

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Iraqi President Fuad Masum speaks during a press conference

The Iraqi President Fuad Masum said on Saturday, Turkish troops deployed to Mosul, the Iraqi town controlled by DAESH terrorist group, is a “violation” of international norms.

"The presence of the Turkish Army Forces in Mosul Province without our permission is violating international rules. I want Turkish officials to get the force out of Iraq territory immediately," Masum said.

The head of the parliament’s security and defence committee Hakim al Zamili, called on Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al Abadi to conduct air strikes against the Turkish troops if they remained in Iraqi territory.

On the other hand, Abadi also slammed the Turkish deployment in northern Iraq, saying "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."

Turkish Armed Forces has deployed around 150 soldiers and 20 tanks on Friday night to the town of Bashiqa, located in Iraq’s northern province of Mosul, to replace troops that have been in the region for two and a half years who have been training Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

According to Turkish security sources, the mission was launched with the knowledge of the US-led coalition and is part of a routine military exercise against the DAESH terrorist group.

A Turkish official said on Friday that Turkish soldiers were “already in Iraq… Training was already being given in that region for the last two to three years.”

Mosul has been under DAESH control since June 2014, when Iraqi security forces collapsed and withdrew from the region.

The Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) deputy peshmerga minister, Major General Karaman Kemal Omar said that the training given by Turkish soldiers has made a huge contribution to the operation by Iraqi Kurdish forces to retake Sinjar district from DAESH on November 12.

Sinjar is a town located 120 kilometers west of Mosul with an Ezidi Kurdish majority. It had fallen to DAESH in August 2014.

The founder of the training camp outside Mosul, former Ninevah governor Atheel al Nujaifi said that the Turkish trainers were at his base at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and Defence Minister Khaled al Obeidi.

He stated that the Turkish forces are training, but not arming the Sunni fighters, saying "They didn't give us any weapons even though we asked them to." 

He continued: "We equipped this force from the black market with our own money and we believe they're the best force to liberate Mosul... These people will be very effective to hold ground because they are from there and there'll be no resistance to them from local people."

TRTWorld and agencies