Iraq army may respond if Turkey hinders Mosul battle: Security source
Iraqi security officials warn the army may attack occupying Turkish forces deployed to the north should they intervene in an upcoming operation to liberate the city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists.
Baghdad “seeks to make clear that there is absolutely no role for Turkish forces in the Iraqi sphere,” a senior security source was quoted as saying by the Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal on Thursday.
“Any movement or intervention by Turkish during the military operations (to retake Mosul), would be faced with a very strong response,” the official warned, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Other Iraqi officials interviewed by the MEE said the Iraqi government is trying to deal with these “occupation forces” through political and diplomatic channels.
Tensions between Iraq and Turkey have soared in recent days as Iraqi government forces and allied volunteer fighters are preparing for a large military offensive to cleanse Mosul of Daesh terrorists.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the presence of Turkish forces in Iraq complicates the liberation operation, which will be carried out by national Iraqis with no foreign troops involved. He has warned that Turkish provocative actions could even trigger a new “regional war.”
Turkey remains defiant, with its Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus saying on Thursday “no one has the right to object Turkey’s presence in Iraq when the country is fragmented that much.”
He said Ankara’s military presence in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region had come at the request of president of Kurdistan’s Regional Government, Massoud Barzani.