Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claims Turkey is involved in the operations to liberate Mosul on “multiple fronts” despite Iraq’s denial of its involvement.
On Monday, Cavusoglu said that Turkish artillery was already involved in the operations, noting that four Turkish fighter jets are also on standby to engage the terrorists.
“Our aim is to remove Daesh from both Syria and Iraq. Iraq is a neighbor and friend for Turkey and for us the territorial integrity and stability in Iraq is as important as our own,” he said.
He also noted that 17 Daeshis have been killed by Turkish artillery since the operations began.
“There are also four F-16 fighters jets on standby for an air operation as part of the international coalition, ready for air strikes. How they are deployed will depend on decisions by members of the coalition and our military,” he added.
He also claimed that Turkish forces at Bashiqa had already killed over 700 Daesh militants even before the battle for Mosul had begun. On December 4, Turkey deployed 150 heavily armed soldiers backed by 25 tanks to the Bashiqa camp, where it claims it is training Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters battling Daesh.
“(Kurdish) Peshmerga forces we trained in northern Iraq are actively participating, and local forces that we support in Bashiqa, are actively fighting Daesh,” Cavusoglu said.
Earlier, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command denied a claim by the Turkish prime minister that Turkish forces were engaged in the Mosul operations.
“The spokesman of the Joint Operations Command denies Turkish participation of any kind in operations for the liberation of Nineveh,” read a statement referring to the Iraqi province in which Mosul is located.
The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also denied Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim’s announcement that Turkish troops had joined the military offensive by the request of Kurdish Peshmerga forces
The KRG further stressed that there is no cooperation between the semi-autonomous northern Iraqi region and Turkish government concerning the operation to liberate Mosul.
Ankara has been locked in a diplomatic row with Baghdad over the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa military camp. The Iraqi government says the troops are there without Baghdad’s permission, and has frequently called for their withdrawal.
Iraqi forces advance on Mosul
Iraqi troops and Kurdish forces have gained ground in several areas around the Daesh held city despite heavy terrorist shelling, sniper fire, and booby traps.
On Monday, the Iraqi army announced that its troops have managed to wrest control over several villages around Mosul, including the Christian village of Karamlech, bringing the total of towns and villages freed from the hands of the terrorists to around 80 since the start of the operations.
It also announced that over 772 Daesh militants had been killed and 23 Daesh members have been detained, two bomb-making workshops uncovered, 397 improvised explosive devices detonated, and 127 booby-trapped vehicles destroyed.
Since the beginning of the operations, the Iraqi army, backed by volunteer forces, has been engaged in a large military offensive to cleanse Mosul of Daesh terrorists. Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror group started ravaging the country, naming the city as its so-called headquarters in Iraq.
By Press TV