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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Iraq cannot handle Mosul offensive alone, Erdogan claims

Iran Press TV

Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:4PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed the Iraqi government cannot push the Daesh Takfiri terror group out of Mosul alone, expressing Turkey's readiness to take part in the planned military operation to liberate the city.

Speaking at a ceremony in the Black Sea town of Rize on Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey would never "let Mosul be given to Daesh or any other terrorist organization."

He added that Turkey would talk to its coalition partners about possible joining of the major offensive by the Iraqi army to recapture Mosul which is expected to start soon.

He said that the offer would be presented by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during the talks on Syria in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Saturday.

"We are ready to fight there against Daesh and other terror groups," he said.

Baghdad has not announced a specific date for the beginning of the operation to liberate Mosul but it is expected to be launched soon.

Mosul fell into the hands of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in June 2014. Iraqi forces have managed to recapture several areas from terrorists in the southern parts of the city.

The Turkish president further said that the presence of Turkish forces in Bashiqa camp in the Iraqi province of Nineveh was an insurance against attacks on Turkey.

"Nobody should talk about our Bashiqa base. We will stay there. Bashiqa is our insurance against any kind of terrorist activities in Turkey," Erdogan said.

Tensions have been running high between Baghdad and Ankara since December 4, when Turkey deployed 150 heavily armed soldiers backed by 20 to 25 tanks to the Bashiqa camp.

Ankara claims it is training Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters battling Daesh, which currently controls swathes of land in Iraq.

Baghdad has repeatedly asked Turkey to withdraw its forces from the Bashiqa camp, describing Turkey's military presence in Iraq as an infringement of its sovereignty.

Turkey is said to be among the main supporters of the militant groups operating in Syria, with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri elements there and facilitates their safe passage into the violence-wrecked country.

Syria has been the scene of a foreign-backed crisis since March 2011.

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