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Abadi resists US push for Turkish role in Mosul battle

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) speaks with visiting US Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Baghdad, Iraq, on October 22, 2016.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has opposed the US push for the participation of Turkey in the ongoing Iraqi military operation to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from Daesh Takfiri terrorists, stressing Iraqi forces will accomplish the task themselves.  

"I know that the Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle and the Iraqis will liberate Mosul and the rest of the territories," Abadi said following a meeting with visiting US Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Baghdad on Saturday.

The Iraqi prime minister added that the army, Kurdish and other local forces would handle the battle for Mosul.

“We don't have any problems,” Abadi said, noting that the Baghdad government "will ask for help from Turkey or from other regional countries” if need be.

Carter, for his part, described the inclusion of Turkish military forces in the Mosul offensive as a difficult subject, stating that Abadi has already had negotiations with Turkish authorities over the matter and is likely to have more.

The Pentagon chief further said Iraq’s sovereignty was a key principle, stating that Washington will continue to offer assistance to Baghdad.

Ankara has been locked in a diplomatic row with Baghdad over the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa military camp, located roughly 12 kilometers northeast of Mosul.

The Iraqi government says the troops are there without Baghdad’s permission, and has frequently called for their withdrawal.

Turkey, in return, has been defiantly rejecting Iraq’s opposition to the deployment of its forces in the Arab country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, adamantly seeking a role in Mosul recapture at the same time.

Iraqi TV journalist shot dead south of Mosul

Meanwhile, a cameraman working for Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network was fatally shot by a Daesh sniper while covering Iraqi military advances near the village of al-Shura, which lies south of Mosul. The slain journalist was identified as Ali Raysan.

Slain Iraqi cameraman Ali Raysan

Iraqi forces some 5 kilometers away from Mosul

Also on Saturday, Interior Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Karim Sinjari said Iraqi forces were five kilometers away from Mosul, adding that there were strong indications of public uprising against Daesh in the city.

The interior minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Karim Sinjari

Sinjari , who is also the acting KRG defense minister, went on to say that the battle to liberate Mosul would not end anytime soon as Daesh militants in the city, believed to number between 4,000 and 8,000, would fiercely seek not to lose their last stronghold in Iraq.

Nearly 30,000 Iraqi army soldiers, fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces are taking part in the the military operation to retake Mosul from Daesh.

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