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Rockets target Turkey's Mosul consulate after Iraq demands pull-out of Turkish forces

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A view of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul, Iraq (photo via Twitter)

A rocket attack has reportedly targeted Turkey's Consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, as tensions simmer between Baghdad and Ankara over an alleged Turkish strike on a tourist resort in the Arab country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

The Iranian Fars news agency cited unidentified sources as saying that the missile attack on the Turkish Consulate in Mosul had taken place early on Wednesday.

Separately, the Canadian-based GardaWorld Crisis24, citing unknown Iraqi sources, reported that two missiles had landed in the vicinity of the Turkish Consulate. According to the sources, no casualties were caused by the attack, but a number of vehicles belonging to Turkish contractors and translators were damaged.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the reported attack. And Turkey is yet to confirm the incident.

Increased security and localized transport disruptions were expected in the area as authorities investigated and responded to the incident, according to the sources cited by Crisis24.

Meanwhile, a source from Mosul Police, speaking on the condition of anonymity, has told Xinhua news agency that several houses were damaged when six mortar rounds landed near the Turkish Consulate.

The reported strike, if confirmed, would be the second of its kind in the past few days. On Sunday evening, a rocket attack targeted a military base housing Turkish troops in the district of Bashiqa near Mosul City.

A group dubbed Saraya Awliya al-Dam (Guardians of Blood Brigade) claimed responsibility for that attack in a video posted online. The group reportedly said it had used 122mm Grad rockets in the attack, which it said had come in response to the Turkish attack. It also warned that it would take the battle to Turkish territory.

On July 20, an attack attributed to Turkey targeted the Iraqi village of Parakh in Dohuk Province, killing at least nine tourists, including children and women, and wounding more than 20 others. Iraqi authorities blamed Turkey, which did not specifically deny having conducted an attack but said no civilians had been targeted. The Turkish Foreign Ministry blamed the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist group for spreading anti-Turkish propaganda in the incident.

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

In response, the Turkish military has occupied areas in northern Iraq, where it regularly conducts attacks against purported PKK positions without the Arab country's consent. Baghdad has repeatedly condemned Ankara's ongoing military operations in northern Iraq.

Baghdad has filed an official complaint at the United Nations Security Council against Ankara, urging the UNSC to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the strikes.

Iraq demands withdrawal of all Turkish troops

Meanwhile, Iraq's Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein has called on the UNSC to urgently adopt a resolution demanding that Turkey withdraw all its troops from Iraqi territory and halt incursions into the Arab country's airspace.

Hussein made the request during a speech at an emergency meeting of the UNSC on Wednesday.

"We are trying to persuade the members of the Security Council to expel Turkish forces from Iraqi territory," Hussein was quoted by Iraqi state media as saying.

In a sign that the Iraqi government was also taking Turkish concerns into account, the minister said he would also request that the Council "pass a resolution to help Iraq expel the PKK."

He said Baghdad was ready to work alongside the United Nations and concerned countries "to ensure that elements of the PKK leave Iraq because this destabilizes Iraq" and undermines security in the country.

The Iraqi foreign minister further called on the Security Council to set up "an international independent team of inquiry" to look into what he called the Turkish army's "flagrant aggression."

Hussein also emphasized that "there is a state of public anger that has engulfed Iraq from the south to the north due to Turkish aggression," warning that Ankara's continued aggressive behavior may lead to "unimaginable consequences."

In a statement on Monday, the UNSC strongly denounced the attack on the tourist resort in Iraq's Kurdistan region. The statement added that the members of the Security Council "also expressed their support for the Iraqi authorities in their investigations, calling on all member states to cooperate with Baghdad in this regard."

However, diplomats say chances of the Council approving a resolution demanding the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Iraq are slim.

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