IN PHOTOS: Turkish officers provide training for Iraq's Sunni, Turkmen fighters
MOSUL - Anadolu AgencyTurkish officers are participating in the training of 800 Sunni and Turkmen fighters in a camp located in al-Shikhan district 12 kilometers north of Mosul in northern Iraq.
The fighters receive military techniques including defusing explosive devices, a commander told Anadolu Agency on April 14.
Mahmud Surchi, a Kurdish commander of the al-Hashid al-Watani, said 550 fighters had completed their training and 800 others would finish theirs in the near future. A further 500 others will join the camp later for military training.
Flags of Iraq and the Kurdish regional government fly in the camp which is being protected by Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Many commanders who train the fighters are from the Iraqi army, coalition countries and Turkey.
There are 20 Turkish officers that provide military training in the camp, but the number of the Turkish officers is expected to be raised, Surchi said.
He said that 8,000 people, including 180 women, had applied to participate in the training.
The camp is expected to be upgraded to have the capacity to eventually train more than 20,000 people.
A joint military force of the Iraqi army, Peshmerga and Sunni forces are to launch a wide military operation to wrestle control of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
"We are waiting for the operation to start within the upcoming months," Surchi said.
Al-Hashid al-Watani will play a vital rule in Mosul's military operation as Peshmerga forces are expected to be on the front lines in the northern and eastern parts of Mosul, according to Surchi.