TEHRAN (Press Shia) – An Iraqi politician and former official said the country's troops will treat any foreign forces, including the Turkish forces, at the upcoming military operation to liberate the city of Mosul like an enemy and will target them.
Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a prominent Iraqi politician who served as the national security adviser from 2004 to 2009, told the Press Shia News Agency that the large-scale operation to retake the northern city of Mosul from the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group will involve only the Iraqi forces.
Any foreign force on Iraq’s territory will be deemed to be enemy during the Mosul operation and will be fired on, he underlined.
As regards the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, Rubaie said the Baghdad government does not seek a new military front against Turkey, but if necessary, Iraqis will possibly take up any option to kick out the Turkish troops, including the military option.
Turkey-Iraq relations became strained after Ankara sent troops late last year to Bashiqa in northern Iraq to allegedly train anti-Daesh fighters there, a move Baghdad labeled a "blatant violation" of its sovereignty.
Iraq has demanded a Turkish withdrawal but Ankara has ignored the call.
Iraq has been engaged in the fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists since the summer of 2014, when the militants took control of Mosul and some other areas in the country.
However, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the Hashid al-Shaabi (the voluntary forces, also known as the Popular Mobilization Units), has flushed terrorists out of many areas.
Iraq is geared up to launch a large-scale offensive to liberate Mosul.