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Published: Thu, October 13, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Pentagon Says Islamic State Fortifying Mosul Stronghold in Iraq

Pentagon Says Islamic State Fortifying Mosul Stronghold in Iraq

Abadi has repeatedly rejected the idea of Turkish help in the liberation of Mosul.

Relations between the two powers grew tense late a year ago after Turkey deployed troops to a largely Sunni area northeast of Mosul to train locals in the fight against Islamic State extremists.

The invasion of ISIS' largest city looks to be a huge struggle for Iraq without the concern about a secondary fight with Turkish forces, and United States officials are trying to calm the situation down, no small task with neither side willing to give anything up on the dispute.

Retaking Mosul is a key strategic and symbolic goal for Iraq and the USA -led coalition, because it was the first major Iraqi city claimed by Islamic State and it's where its leader declared his so-called caliphate. "We will continue our presence there as long as Turkey is needed there". Thousands of military officers have been purged or arrested in the wake of the coup attempt, and those left behind are looking for opportunities to prove their loyalty to the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan, who wants to show he commands a functioning, and competent, military. It said any foreign forces in Iraq should be there with the approval of the Baghdad government and under the umbrella of the USA -led coalition fighting Islamic State.

Turkey argues that involving Shi'ite militias in a drive to expel Islamic State from Mosul will not bring peace. The idea is to find fighters other than Kurdish peshmerga to take the war to terrorists and other militants; too much Kurdish success, especially in northern Syria, has anxious Ankara.

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The dispute between Ankara and Baghdad flared up after the Turkish parliament extended a government mandate by one year, allowing its troops to remain on both Iraqi and Syrian soil. It says its troops are in Iraq as part of an global mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State.

Earlier, Erdogan had sneered at Abadi's call for him to withdraw his force back to Turkey. He added Eurasia was FETO's first expansion area, a place where it was "deeply active". It launched an operation in August to push Kurdish fighters to the east bank of the Euphrates in northern Syria.

Yildirim issued a statement warning that any alternation to the "demographic structure of Mosul after Daesh [ISIS] is taken out would spark a big civilian and sectarian war".

Fresh regiments of Iraqi forces have been deployed southeast of Mosul in preparation of a joint operation against Daesh in the city, an Iraqi military official said Tuesday.

The Turkish army, its senior ranks purged following a failed military attempt to overthrow Erdogan in July, launched an incursion into Syria in August to push back Islamic State and prevent US -backed Kurdish militia fighters from seizing territory.

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