Turkish troops were deployed in northern Iraq with the full consent of officials in Baghdad, Safin Dizayi, a spokesman for northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), said Thursday.
“After the Daesh terrorist group attacked the Kurdistan region and Iraq, many countries extended military support and provided training [to fight Daesh],” Dizayi asserted.
“With the full knowledge of the central [Iraqi] government’s Defense Ministry, two bases were set up — in Dubardan and Bashiqa near Mosul — to provide military training,” he added.
These facilities, he went on to note, “were intended to provide training to Iraqi police forces and volunteers from Nineveh province [of which Mosul is the regional capital]”.
“The government of Kurdistan [i.e. the KRG] provided the facilities necessary for this process,” Dizayi said.
“Within this context, Turkish military experts provided the necessary training for Iraqi police and local volunteers,” he added.
According to Dizayi, these forces had since been visited and inspected “by the Iraqi defense minister himself”.
In mid-2014, Daesh captured Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city — along with vast swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
In recent months, the Iraqi army has managed to retake much territory. Nevertheless, Daesh remains in firm control of Mosul, which Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture by year’s end.
In December of last year, Turkey sent some 150 troops and about two dozen combat tanks to Camp Bashiqa, located some 12 kilometers northeast of Daesh-held Mosul.
The deployment — which has been criticized by some Iraqi politicians — was meant to provide protection to Turkish military personnel tasked with training Iraqi volunteers to fight Daesh.