Baghdad demands Turkish troops withdraw from northern Iraq

The central Iraqi government in Baghdad has demanded that Turkey immediately withdraw troops in the northern Nineveh area near the city of Mosul that is occupied by the Islamic State or Daesh.
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that no permission had been granted for "around one armed battalion" of Turkish troops to be in the area. Al-Abadi issued a statement saying:"We have confirmed that Turkish forces, numbering about one armored regiment with a number of tanks and artillery, entered the Iraqi province of Ninawa… allegedly to train Iraqi groups, without a request or authorization from Iraqi federal authorities."He also said that the deployment was a serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty. However, the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu said that the troops were part of an training mission requested both by Mosul's governor, Atheel Nujaifi, and was coordinated by the Iraqi defence ministry. Turkish media reported that around 150 Turkish soldiers backed by 20 to 25 tanks had been sent to the Bashiqa area northeast of Mosul.
An Al Jazeera reporter confirmed that the Turkish troops appear to have been invited to the area by the Mosul governor:"It seems like the government of Mosul has told Baghdad: 'We need more help with fighting ISIL, and if the Turks are willing to offer that help, we will take them up on that'." However, the Iraqi foreign ministry issued a statement on state TV that the presence of the troops was "an incursion".
Iraq's foreign ministry had earlier said in a statement on state television that the Turkish deployment was "an incursion". A senior Kurdish military officer based on the front-line just north of Mosul said that additional Turkish trainers arrived at the camp on Thursday with a Turkish protection force escorting them. He claimed that training had been going on for two or three years already.US defence officials said they were aware of the Turkish deployment but they were not party of the US-led coalition operations.


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