Turkey Will Not Militarily Help Iraq Retake Mosul

Although Turkey offers Iraq assistance in effort to take back ISIS-controlled Mosul, refuses to get too involved by sending troops to help.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Ahmet Davutoglu
Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkey will not take part in any military offensive by Iraq to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday.

"We would support Mosul but will not combat directly," Davutoglu was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet newspaper en route to New York, referring to Turkey's willingness to offer Iraq logistical and other assistance, but not troops.

Davutoglu, however, warned that Turkey would respond if threatened by any attack on its soil.

"If there is any direct threat to Turkey we will respond immediately. We have the potential and strength to do that," he was quoted as saying in the report.

Mosul is a major hub for the ISIS terrorists and holds special significance as the place where jihadist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed his "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State has controlled Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, since seizing it in a June 2014 offensive that saw them conquer large parts of the country.

Previous comments by senior United States officials suggesting the Iraqi army would stage a counter-attack against ISIS in the northern city as soon as April or May have provoked an angry response in Baghdad.

A senior US envoy said Monday that no timeline should be imposed on Iraqi forces planning an offensive to take back Mosul as the operation will require elaborate preparations.

Turkey, a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has refused to play a greater role in a US-led coalition against ISIS terrorists, and instead called for a broader strategy with the ultimate goal of bringing down the regime in Damascus.

Turkey's contribution to the fight against ISIS has been limited to allowing the transit of Iraqi peshmerga forces through its soil to fight in the Syrian town of Kobane, which was retaken by Kurdish forces in January.

Turkey is also providing training for the peshmerga forces in Iraq.

In February, Turkey relocated a historic tomb and evacuated the soldiers guarding the monument from Syrian territory after it was surrounded by IS terrorists.