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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Wants Turkish Troops Out Once and for All

Sputnik News

16:58 21.12.2015(updated 17:17 21.12.2015)

Baghdad has welcomed Turkey's decision to start removing its troops from northern Iraq, but said it would press for a complete withdrawal of Turkish forces from its territory, Iranian media wrote on Sunday.

'What has been reported in the media is a step in the right direction,' Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in a statement released in Baghdad, Press TV reported.

Jaafari stressed that Baghdad will carry on its process with the UN Security Council until "full withdrawal is achieved."

On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that Ankara would continue its military pullout from the Bashiqa military base in Iraq's northern Nineveh province.

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.

On December 18, US President Barack Obama urged his Turkish counterpart 'to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq' and take additional steps to deescalate tensions with the country, including by continuing to withdraw Turkish military forces.

Baghdad also called on the Security Council to adopt a resolution, urging Turkey to end its "illegal incursion" and immediately withdraw all of its troops from the Iraqi soil.

Turkey claims that the troops are deployed to train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters battling the Daesh terrorist group.

Tensions between Baghdad and Ankara have been running high since December 4, when Turkey deployed heavily armed soldiers backed by two dozen tanks to the Bashiqa base.

Turkey has 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 Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL or Daesh in Arabic).


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