Turkish Defence Forum 55

Question

The Turkish government on Friday sent 150 of their soldiers to the outskirts of Daesh-held Mosul, which is under Islamic State (Isis) control, in Northern Iraq. Heavy weapons and armored vehicles accompanied them in Mosul. One of the Turkish officials who spoke to the Daily Sabah explained that the soldiers were there as part of routine training exercises.

Isis occupies swaths of Iraq and Syria which leads to disunity among the groups opposing it. Defense forces are repeatedly deployed in these areas, to help bring everything to sanity.

The total number of Iraqi troops which Turkey has trained so far adds up to 3750. 2500 soldiers from Kurdish Peshmerga forces and 1250 from the Arab. The goal, however, according to the source is to increase that number to 14000 troops. But he declined to say the exact number of soldiers deployed.

An AA reporter received information from reliable sources that the new Turkish troops sent to Mosul were to replace its current unit which has been training there for 2 and a half years. One battalion has crossed into the region, and the rest are yet to arrive. That brings the total number of troops in Mosul Bashiqa to 1200. Apart from the deployment of the soldiers, 20-25 tanks were also dispatched to the area.

In a video which was released on the website of Turkey’s pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper, flatbed trucks are seen carrying armored vehicles along the road at night and describes them as a convoy that accompanies the Turkish troops.

While addressing the media, the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) deputy peshmerga minister, Major General Karaman Kemal Omar said that the training given by Turkish soldiers is of great benefit to supporting the efforts by Iraqi Kurdish forces to retake the district of Sinjar from Daesh which will happen on 12th November.

“The US-led coalition knew about the operation but the coalition forces did not participate in it.” Said the US official to Daily Sabah. The official added that the US was aware of the Turkish presence in Northern Iraq, but that was associated with neither the Operational Inherent Resolve nor Coalition Efforts.

However, the Iraq government were not pleased with the entry of these troops. They spoke through their representative after the operation. The Iraq state claimed that the entrance of around one armed battalion from the Turkish forces to the Northern Nineveh area was a violation of its sovereignty. They called upon the Turkish troops to withdraw immediately. The information came from the prime minister’s media office, Haider al Abadi.

They called this activity as “an incursion”. They took a step further and rejected any military operation which was not coordinated with the federal government in Bagdad. However, they said it welcomed foreign assistance on the condition that Iraq’s government should first approve any deployment of special operations forces anywhere in Iraq.

They said that they see no need for foreign ground combat troops in the country. And that powerful Iraqi Shai Muslim armed group are more than ready to fight any such deployment of the US forces in the country. It is still not clear of how they viewed the presence of Turkish soldiers in their country.

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