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Iran Press TV

Iraq PM demands 'complete withdrawal' of Turkish forces

Iran Press TV

Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:58PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called for an immediate and 'complete withdrawal' of all Turkish forces from northern Iraq.

According to a statement released by the Iraqi prime minister's office, al-Abadi and his senior ministers underlined the need for the 'complete withdrawal' of Turkish troops from Iraqi soil.

The cabinet 'renewed its firm position on the necessity of a response from neighboring Turkey to the Iraqi demand for a complete withdrawal from Iraqi territory and respect for its national sovereignty,' the statement said.

The statement also emphasized that Ankara's partial pullout the previous day is not enough.

Latest media reports indicate that some Turkish troops deployed in northern Iraq are leaving the Bashiqa camp, heading north to a yet unknown destination as part of a "new arrangement."

A military source told Reuters on Monday that the Turkish forces were leaving the camp, close to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is controlled by Daesh terrorist group.

It is not yet clear whether the troops were moving within Iraq or heading back to Turkey.

Tensions have been running high between Baghdad and Ankara since December 4, when Turkey deployed some 150 soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons and backed by 20 to 25 tanks, to the outskirts of Mosul, the capital of Iraq's Nineveh Province.

Over the past few days, thousands of Iraqi protesters have staged demonstrations across the country to denounce the Turkish deployment of military forces. On December 11, Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also called on the government to show "no tolerance" toward any party that violates the country's sovereignty.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has recently said that Baghdad had submitted a formal complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC) regarding Turkey's military moves in northern Iraq.

On Monday, al-Abadi issued an order for Air Force to be on alert as a deadline for Turkey to pull out its troops from the Arab country approaches.

Iraq on Sunday gave Ankara 48 hours to withdraw its forces or face "all available options," including recourse to the UN Security Council.

Senior Iraqi authorities reiterate that Turkish troops have entered the Iraqi territory without Baghdad's consent and that Iraq considered it 'a hostile act.'

The Iraqi government has called on the international community to provide it with more arms and training to fight Daesh, but rejected direct intervention by other countries.

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