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Iraqi President Says Deployment of Turkish Troops Near Mosul Violates International Law

President Fouad Massoum called the deployment of several hundred Turkish troops inside Iraq "a violation of international norms and law."
Photo via EPA

Iraqi President Fouad Massoum called the deployment of several hundred Turkish troops inside Iraq near the northern city of Mosul "a violation of international norms and law" on Saturday.

A Turkish security source said on Friday the forces would provide training for Iraqi troops near Mosul, which is controlled by the Islamic State (IS).

Iraq's prime minister and Foreign Ministry have called for Turkey to withdraw its forces.


In an online statement, Massoum also called on Turkey to withdraw the troops and asked Iraq's Foreign Ministry to take the necessary measures "to preserve the country's sovereignty and independence."

Related: 'I Know You Are But What Am I': Turkey, Russia, and the Islamic State's Oil

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi also condemned the presence of Turkish troops inside Iraq in an online statement.

The unauthorized presence of Turkish troops in Mosul province is a serious breach of Iraqi sovereignty — Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi)December 4, 2015

IS militants overran Mosul in June 2014. A much anticipated counter-offensive by Iraqi forces has been repeatedly postponed because they are tied down in fighting elsewhere.

A senior Kurdish military officer based north of Mosul told Reuters that additional Turkish trainers had arrived at a camp in the area overnight on Thursday escorted by a Turkish protection force.

A small number of Turkish trainers was already at the camp to train a force called Hashid Watani (national mobilization), which is made up of mainly Sunni Arab former Iraqi police and volunteers from Mosul.

Related: Here's Why Shutting the Turkish Border With the Islamic State Is Easier Said Than Done

The United States was aware of Turkey's deployment of hundreds of Turkish soldiers to northern Iraq, but the move is not part of the US-led coalition's activities, according to defense officials in Washington.

Powerful Iraqi Shiite Muslim armed groups have pledged to fight a planned deployment of US forces to the country. Turkey has in recent months been bombing Kurdish militant positions in northern Iraq.

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Watch the VICE News documentary Peshmerga vs. the Islamic State: The Road to Mosul: