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Mosul offensive: Iraq denies Turkish participation

US defence secretary had pushed for Turkey's role in the offensive but Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi rejected the idea. In photo: Iraqi Kurdish security forces patrol a street in the southern suburbs of Kirkuk on October 22, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

Baghdad, Iraq Oct 24, 2016, 11.57 AM (IST)

Iraq on Monday refused claims of Turkey's participation in the military operation to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

 

"The spokesman of the Joint Operations Command denies Turkish participation of any kind in operations for the liberation of Nineveh," a statement said, referring to the Iraqi province of which Mosul is the capital, reported news agency AFP.

 

Turkish troops had provided support "with artillery, tanks and howitzers" following a request by Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said yesterday, according to the international news agency.

 

Kurdish Peshmerga forces have complained about the insufficiency of the US-led coalition air support, AFP reported. Turkey has frequently expressed interest in participating in the massive operation to reclaim the northern city of Mosul, the Islamic State group's last stronghold in Iraq, it added. 

 

However, according to WION correspondent, Daniele Pagani, four Turkish tanks and a bunch of Turkish Soldiers were spotted on the Bashiqa frontline on Thursday.  It is not confirmed whether they participated in the active battle or not. 

 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is under domestic pressure not to be seen as tolerating the presence on his soil of troops from a country many in Iraq see as having abetted the rise of the jihadist group, according to AFP. 

 

(With inputs from AFP)

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