01:20 GMT27 January 2021
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    In an interview with Sputnik, a Kurdish Peshmerga commander in Iraq, Livan Hurettin, denied earlier reports about a military base allegedly being built by the US near Bashiqa, a town 25 kilometers from Mosul.

    “The information about the construction of a US military base in the area is not true. There are neither American soldiers nor any representatives of the US military command there,” Livan Hurettin said.

    He denied rumors about Turkey allegedly having sent reinforcement to its troops already deployed near Bashiqa.

    “There were only Turkish troops stationed there. Their number hasn’t changed,” he said, refusing to elaborate any further out of security considerations.

    Meanwhile, the presence of Turkish troops near Bashiqa has sent Iraq-Turkey tensions soaring. According to local media reports, there are an estimated 600 Turkish troops currently stationed in Bashiqa, which is controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga units.

    In a majority vote on Sunday, the Turkish parliament extended the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq by one year. The move invited an angry backlash from Iraqi MPs who called for the earliest possible withdrawal of the Turkish troops already in the country.

    Livan Hurettin said that it was not yet clear whether the Turkish soldiers were going to take part in the operation to liberate Mosul from Daesh terrorists.

    He added that the Peshmerga forces were now in the final stages of preparations for the operation that is expected to start shortly.

    Related:

    More than 5,200 US Forces Deployed in Iraq for Upcoming Battle to Retake Mosul
    Turkey Fears Possible Sectarian Conflict in Iraq After Mosul Liberation - PM
    Tags:
    Turkish troops, denial, Kurdish commander, rumors, US military base, Daesh, Turkish Parliament, Peshmerga, Livan Hurettin, Iraq
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