Withdrawal of Turkish Troops From Northern Iraqi Province Underway

Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:30

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkey continues the process of its troops’ withdrawal from the Iraqi province of Nineveh, the country’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

On December 4, Turkey deployed about 150 troops and 25 tanks to the Bashiqa camp in the northern Iraqi province, without Baghdad’s approval, allegedly as part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Daesh in Arabic), Sputnik reported.

Ankara started withdrawing its troops on December 14, after Iraq had officially filed a complaint with the UN Security Council, calling on the United Nations to ensure an immediate pullout of the Turkish forces from its country's territory.

"Turkey, in recognition of the Iraqi concerns and in accordance with the requirements of the fight against DAESH, is continuing to move military forces from Ninewa [Nineveh] province that were the source of the miscommunication," the ministry said in a statement.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama urged his Turkish counterpart to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and take additional steps to deescalate tensions with the country, including by continuing to withdraw Turkish military forces.