Turkey-trained local forces join Mosul offensive with peshmerga
by Anadolu Agency
MOSULOct 18, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Oct 18, 2016 12:00 am
Turkish-trained forces are participating in a military operation to recapture Iraq's northern city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists, a former Mosul governor said yesterday.
Atheel Nujaifi, who is also the commander of the Nineveh Guards, which were trained by Turkey in the Bashiqa camp, said some 2,000 fighters have joined the offensive and they are acting with the Kurdish peshmerga forces.
Iraqi forces began advancing midnight Sunday on Mosul, the last Daesh stronghold in Northern Iraq. In televised statements, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said only the Iraqi army and police forces would be in the city.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also said a simultaneous operation has started against Daesh with the participation of KRG peshmerga forces. U.S.-led coalition jets also supported peshmerga forces in the anti-Daesh campaign, it said.
Last December, Turkey sent 150 troops and about two dozen combat tanks to Bashiqa, located 12 kilometers northeast of Mosul. Ankara and Baghdad have been locked in a row about the presence of Turkish troops there.
Turkey fears that the participation of Shiite militias – which the Iraqi army relied on in the past - in the Mosul offensive will stoke sectarian tension and trigger an exodus of refugees.
Ankara has insisted that nearly 3,000 tribal forces trained by Turkish forces at the Bashiqa base on the eastern outskirts of Mosul join the anti-Daesh offensive and remain in the city as a police force. Baghdad is still at odds with that proposal.
In mid-2014, Daesh captured Mosul and overran vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq.
Recent months, however, have seen the Iraqi army, backed by a 60-nation air coalition led by the U.S., retake a large portion of that territory.
Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.