Turkey’s military supply to Baghdad does not include weapons: Sources
by Ebru Şengül
ANKARAMar 03, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Ebru Şengül
Mar 03, 2015 12:00 am
Two Turkish C-130 military cargo planes that landed at an air base near Baghdad do not contain weapons, told military sources to Daily Sabah.
The planes arrive before the Turkish Defense Minister's visit to Iraq, and include camouflage, garrison caps, boots, vests, steel helmets, sleeping bags and tents for the use of 500 military personnel who are expected to fight with the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in order to retake Mosul, according to sources speaking on the condition of anonymity.
ISIS militants seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in June as part of their lightning offensive across northern Iraq. Iraq have begun preparations for an assault by summer or Spring to retake Mosul, selecting and training military units and cutting supply lines to Islamic State militants.
Mosul Governor Asil Nujaifi told Rudaw, Iraqi Kurdish online news website, on March 1 that Ankara has agreed to send weapons and supplies for the retaking of Mosul from ISIS. However, diplomatic sources underlined that Ankara 'is opposed to sending weaponry and guns to Iraq.'
"Most of the weaponry provided to Iraqi forces is now in the hands of ISIS. One example is US's air drop which was seized by ISIS militants. This is why Ankara does not consider providing any weapons to Iraqi forces" diplomatic sources said.
ISIS militants have reportedly seized dozens of weapons which were provided by U.S. to Iraqi forces on February 21, according to CNN. The arms seized by the group included M-16s and heavy machine guns. Similar incidents took place on June and October during an American airdrop that was intended for Kurdish forces.
Regarding Turkey's contribution to retake of Mosul, Turkey's Defense Minister said Turkey will carry out the evaluation for further contribution in due course, based on national interests. "Ultimately we'll fulfill our responsibility as a coalition member against ISIS" he said on March 2.
"Turkey does not intend to send ground troops to Iraq. Firstly, Turkey is in favor of an inclusive strategy both in Iraq and Syria. It is obvious that air strikes in Iraq are not enough. However, as long as we do not solve the problem in Syria, our efforts will be lost in Iraq too", said diplomatic sources. "Secondly, the Iraqi government has said several times that they do not want any foreign fighters on its territory."
Turkey and Iraq will discuss the issue during the visit of Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz's to Iraq on March 4 and 5, sources added. Yılmaz will pay visits to both Baghdad and Arbil along with officials from the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces.