WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Turkish forces deployed to northern Iraq can help in the fight against Daesh (ISIS) despite Baghdad’s concerns over foreign troops on its soil,
"Iraq has many other problems, and the most important is to defeat ISIS [Islamic State]. If the Turks and Turkish trained troops can help, that is a very positive contribution," Jeffrey said on Friday.
On Thursday, Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily told Sputnik that Baghdad sent an envoy to Ankara last week to demonstrate it is "serious" about the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraq.
"It is a minor dispute," Jeffrey said, arguing the Iraqi government’s objections to the Turkish presence were meant to appease Iran’s "surrogates in Baghdad."
The dispute is unlikely to escalate beyond periodic complaints filed by the Iraqi government “for the record,” he added.
He further noted that Turkey "training Sunni Arab militias without clearance from Baghdad,” is problematic.
In February, Iraq filed an official complaint with the United Nations Security Council over the unauthorized Turkish troop presence. The issue has also been discussed bilaterally between Baghdad and Ankara.
Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that Turkey withdraw its troops from Iraq, adding that Turkish actions are completely unacceptable.