US: Turkey-trained forces effective in Mosul operation15.12.2016
Sunni tribal forces trained by Turkey in a camp near the Iraqi town of Bashiqa have done “a pretty good job” in the Mosul operation led by Iraqi government forces, a U.S. general said Wednesday.
“They are operating on the north side of Mosul in between the dam and the city,” U.S.-led coalition commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said at a briefing via videoconference from Baghdad.
Townsend said the coalition is tracking the movements of the tribal forces trained by Turkey. “They're under Iraqi control. And by all reports, they've done a pretty good job,” Townsend added.
Turkey has a longstanding military training mission at Camp Bashiqa, located 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Mosul, where Turkish soldiers have trained thousands of Kurdish peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat techniques.
In recent months, the mission’s presence in northern Iraq has led to tension between Baghdad and Ankara amid calls by some Iraqi lawmakers for Turkish troops to withdraw.
As Sunni tribal fighters mostly comprise Mosul locals, Ankara insisted they be part of the force that would enter Mosul and hold the city after liberation.
Turkey-trained forces are now part of "tribal hold forces", a variation of the popular mobilization force trained to secure their local area, the American general said.