The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) carried out an attack against a Sunni military camp in the Bashiqa region of northern Iraq, wounding four Turkish soldiers, as the Turkish prime minister said Turkey would take extra measures in the region despite a recent row with Baghdad over the matter.
Two Peshmerga soldiers were also killed.
The Turkish soldiers were slightly injured in the attack before they responded with howitzer fire, Turkey’s general staff said in a statement, highlighting the importance of the security at the base.
It said that some Katyusha ÇNRA projectiles fell into the camp in the Bashiqa region during the clashes between ISIL and Peshmerga forces at around 3:10 p.m.
The injured soldiers were rushed to a hospital in Şırnak, a Turkish province over the border, and are in good a condition, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Prime Minister Davutoğlu said in a press briefing before leaving Ankara for Brussels that some ISIL targets in the region were destroyed.
This showed the deterrent force of Turkey and the incident once again displayed that there are security risks for trainers and trainees there, he said.
“We will share this with our Iraqi friends,” said Davutoğlu, adding that Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq was in charge.
“Our existence there is within the framework of Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.
“The military necessities are essential. If our Armed Forces needs new steps there, it is totally authorized.”
The reported mortar attack, which lasted three hours, targeted the base in the town of Bashika, in Iraq’s Mosul province, former Mosul Governor Atheel Nojaifi stated, according to Kurdish news agency Rudaw, which reported an up to 60 mortar firing rounds.
Iraqi Kurdish official Hemin Hawrami said on Twitter that Peshmerga forces had repelled multiple attacks on Dec. 16 by the militants, who deployed nine car bombs and eight suicide attacks. Seven Peshmerga were killed, he said.
The Turkish soldiers’ presence in Iraq recently turned into a row between the two neighboring countries.
The additional deployment of Turkish troops to the Bashika camp near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul earlier this month started angry exchanges between the two capitals.
Turkey said on Dec. 14 that that some of its troops had begun leaving as part of reorganization, but Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesman said it was not enough.
Turkey must pull all its forces out of a camp in northern Iraq, a spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister said on Dec. 15 after Ankarawithdrew some troops from the area.
“The position of the government of Iraq is still the same: Turkey must pull out this force to the international borders and not reorganize its deployment,” Saad al-Hadithi told Reuters.
Turkey says the troops are part of a mission to train Iraqi forces to fight ISIL militants and troops to protect them against rising security risks.
Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces that control the area where the Turkish forces have deployed said 10 tanks had been moved from the camp to another existing Turkish base within the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) area in northern Iraq.