Turkey sends non-lethal aid to Baghdad
Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
AA photoTwo cargo planes carrying Turkish military aid to Iraqi soldiers arrived in Baghdad on March 3, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News, stressing that the assistance includes non-lethal military equipment aid for 500 soldiers of the central government.
The military aid includes camouflage desert caps, assault vests, helmets, sleeping bags, blankets for 500 soldiers, and 50 cold weather tents, according to the official. Turkey will continue to provide non-lethal equipment if needed, said the official.
Two C-130 military planes landed at a military air base 20 kilometers east of the Iraqi capital, Anadolu Agency reported.
Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad Faruk Kaymakçı has reportedly delivered the aid to Iraqi Defense Ministry authorities.
“Turkey will continue to stand by its allies of the Iraqi government and people both as part of the anti-DAESH coalition, with respect to their bilateral relations, in order to provide the support it can lend for Iraq’s unity, integrity, stability, security and welfare,” read a statement issued by the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Iraq has been under threat from ISIL, which overtook Mosul last June and has captured large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria, sending Iraqi security forces and soldiers fleeing.
Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said on March 2 that Turkey will continue to assess its “further contribution” to an international military operation to retake Mosul from the jihadist group.
Turkey is part of the collation against ISIL and “has started to make a concrete contribution,” Yılmaz told reporters, amid speculation about the planned upcoming operation to force ISIL out of Mosul.
Turkey plans to provide training for members of certain tribes in Mosul and deliver non-lethal military equipment, as is the case with the Iraqi Kurds, diplomatic sources told the Daily News.