11 Jan 2017 - 16:32
The rubble of a bridge blown up by Islamic State in Mosul to block advancing Iraqi forces has become a lifeline for civilians as more and more of the northern city breaks loose from the grip of the ultra-hardline militants.
12 Jan 2017 - 10:47
ANKARA: The ongoing campaign to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State terrorist group is likely to continue for another three months, Iraqi Ambassador to Turkey Hisham Ali Akbar Ibrahim al-Alawi said Wednesday.
"We expect the Mosul campaign to wrap up in three months," he said.
Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, al-Alawi also said Turkish troops now deployed in northern Iraq’s Camp Bashiqa -- located some 30 kilometers northeast of Mosul -- would depart once the offensive ended.
Turkey maintains a military training mission at Camp Bashiqa, where Turkish soldiers have trained both Peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat techniques.
In recent months, the Turkish presence near Mosul has led to tension between Baghdad and Ankara amid calls by some Iraqi lawmakers for the Turkish troops to withdraw.
Ankara, for its part, has repeatedly stressed its respect for Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Speaking from Iraq on Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey's military presence at Camp Bashiqa was being maintained "out of necessity".
Al-Alawi, for his part, described Yildirim's recent visit to Iraq as "a success".
"This visit provided the positive atmosphere needed to further [Iraqi-Turkish] relations," he said.
While in Iraq, the diplomat added, Yildirim and members of his delegation had held "important discussions" with their Iraqi counterparts, especially on issues relating to energy, education and defense.
"I am optimistic that we will see many positive developments [in terms of Iraqi-Turkish relations] in 2017," al-Alawi asserted.