Turkey to continue to draw down troops in Iraq

Ankara, Dec 20 (IANS) Turkey will continue to move some of its troops out of Nineveh province in northern Iraq, where the camp is based, said a statement from Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Turkey has acknowledged a “miscommunication” with Iraq over its recent deployment of troops to the Bashiqa military base in Iraq, Xinhua cited the statement as saying on Saturday.

As a committed member of the global coalition against the Islamic State (IS) militant group, Turkey is ready to cooperate with Iraq to more closely coordinate joint efforts to defeat and destroy the terrorists, added the statement.

Turkey will continue to coordinate with the Iraqi government its military contributions to the fight against the IS.

Ankara deployed hundreds of troops to Bashiqa in early December, saying the force was part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight IS. Baghdad slammed the move, saying it had never invited such a force.

A convoy of nearly 10 vehicles left the Bashiqa camp on Monday morning and travelled to another region in Iraq.

The troops movement came after Iraq’s strong reaction to the deployment of the Turkish troops to Bashiqa, which Ankara says was aimed at training Sunni forces in their combat against IS militants.

Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Nineveh province, has been under IS control since June 2014.

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