Turkey to participate in battle for Mosul: Pentagon

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Turkish army troops deployed on the border line with Syria. File photo

ARA News

Cizre – The United States believes that Turkey could play an important role in the ongoing battle for Mosul, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Friday. Today is the fifth day of a joint Kurdish-Iraqi operation which aims to push the Islamic State (ISIS) out of northern Iraq.

Carter said that he was confident that Turkey would participate in the operation to retake Mosul city from ISIS, saying that he believed that “there is agreement there in principle.”

The US Defense Secretary released a statement after visiting Turkey in an effort to mend rifts between Ankara and Baghdad. “Iraq understands that Turkey is a member of the counter-ISIS coalition and will play a role in counter-ISIS operations in Iraq,” the statement said.

Carter also said that Baghdad recognized that “Turkey since it neighbors the region […] has an interest in the ultimate outcome in Mosul.”

“I am confident that we can work things out,” he continued. “There are things that would be productive for Turkey to do and we just need to work through these practicalities.”

Turkey’s stretch of the frontline runs near the town of Bashiqa, where the Turkish Army maintains a base. It has remained quiet since Monday when the battle for Mosul commenced.

Turkey is not expected to expose its soldiers to Islamic State (ISIS) small arms fire. Instead, it has been training and equipping a Sunni Arab contingent in Bashiqa District. Tukey has also shelled several ISIS fighting position.

Turkey’s Sunni contingent has reportedly been kept out of the fighting due to a lack of cooperation with the US-led coalition. A Kurdish Peshmerga officer at the front told ARA News that he hasn’t seen any movement from Turkey-trained fighters.

“In order to be involved in [the battle for] Mosul, ground forces have no choice but to align with the US-led coalition since the majority of territorial gains are dependent on the aerial support the coalition provides,” Ceng Sagnic, a researcher with the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told ARA News.

By: Eyaz Ciziri | Source: ARA News & Agencies 

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