Turkey has stopped the transfer of troops near the Iraqi city of Mosul after Baghdad threatened to appeal to the UN Security Council over the deployment of Ankara's forces. The Iraqi government said Turkey's forces entered its territory illegally.
Subsequent to Baghdad's warning, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised no more troops would be sent to the Bashiqa region of northern Iraq, which is under the control of the Islamic State (Isis), until the "sensitivities" were addressed. The IS captured Mosul in a surprise offensive in 2014 and since then the Iraqi city has remained the de facto capital of the Islamist group.
"No further forces will be deployed to Bashiqa until concerns of the Iraqi government are overcome. Turkey is ready to deepen its cooperation with Iraq in coordination and consultation. Those who are disturbed by the cooperation of Turkey and Iraq and who want to end it should not be allowed to attain their goal," a statement from the prime minister's office read. The statement did not specify whether Turkey would withdraw all the troops who have already reached the Bashiqa region.
On Thursday (3 December) Turkey began to deploy hundreds of troops to a base in Bashiqa region — dubbing it a routine training exercise — in order to retake the territories from the IS. The troop movement has created regional tensions provoking a strong reaction from Iraq.
Calling the move a "hostile act", Iraqi foreign ministry said: "This is considered a violation and a breach of the sovereignty of the country." The Baghdad administration led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said it would appeal to the UN Security Council if Turkey failed to withdraw its troops within 48 hours.
The Turkish troops are meant to train the local Kurdish forces who enjoy close ties with Turkey, unlike the Syrian Kurdish groups.
The Syrian regime also waded into the latest tensions calling Turkey's actions provocative in nature. Damascus's foreign ministry in a statement carried by the state television said the regime "condemns the flagrant Turkish violation of Iraqi territory, which comes as a continuation of the destructive role [Ankara] is playing in Syria and Iraq".