Turkish military reveals peshmerga training details

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ANKARA 

The Turkish military has released details of a training program for Kurdish peshmerga fighters it has been running in Iraq.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has cautioned against misunderstandings, saying, “Turkey has no designs on any country’s land.”

The army statement comes in the wake of Friday’s deployment of around 150 Turkish troops to replace training forces in Mosul, northern Iraq. Along with the troops, 20 to 25 tanks were also dispatched to the area.

Turkish army sources said Saturday that they had been training fighters across four provinces in northern Iraq to combat Daesh.

The fresh Turkish troops arrived in Mosul, Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) spokesperson Sefin Dizayi confirmed in a statement.

According to the KRG, Turkish military equipment and experts are to replace an existing unit in the northern Iraq.

The new arrivals will be stationed at different military camps in the Mosul region plus the Soran and Kalacholan districts near the Iranian border.

According to the Turkish military, peshmerga forces have been trained against homemade explosives and to use heavy machine guns, mortars and artillery. They also received first-aid training.

More than 2,500 peshmerga, including high-ranking officers, have attended the Turkish training, the military added.

KRG deputy peshmerga minister, Major-General Karaman Kemal Omar, said that the training given by Turkish soldiers made a huge contribution to an operation by Iraqi Kurdish forces to retake Sinjar district from Daesh on Nov. 12.

Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu said Saturday that Ankara’s struggle was against terrorist organizations.

“Nobody should infer wrong meanings from our assistance. Turkey has no designs on any country’s land. It does not and it cannot.”

Davutoglu added that the defense ministers of both countries talked on the phone on Saturday and the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was planning a visit to Turkey, for which no date has been specified.

“I hope I will be visiting Baghdad as soon as possible with our ministers and a large delegation for a high level consultation meeting as planned earlier. We will continue strengthening our cooperation with Republic of Iraq in every field,” Davutoglu said.

Sinjar is a town located 120 kilometers [74 miles] west of Mosul with an Ezidi Kurdish majority. It fell to Daesh in August 2014.

Turkish soldiers in the Mosul region were first sent there two-and-a-half years ago in order to train Iraqi peshmerga forces.

Daesh massacres and the massive displacement of local people led to the creation of an international coalition against the terror group. The U.S.-led coalition has been staging airstrikes against Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria since mid-September 2014.

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