Turkish artillery units shelling ISIL in Bashiqa: PM Yıldırım

Turkish artillery units shelling ISIL in Bashiqa: PM Yıldırım

Turkish artillery units shelling ISIL in Bashiqa: PM Yıldırım

AFP photo

Turkish artillery units are shelling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group in Bashiqa near Mosul, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Oct. 23, hours after U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited the Bashiqa military camp.

The Turkish shelling on the jihadist group came at the request of Peshmerga forces, Yıldırım told reporters in the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar.

The Peshmarga  fighters said they had taken Bashiqa from ISIL as coalition forces pressed their offensive against the jihadists’ last stronghold in Iraq. 

Masoud Barzani, President of the Iraqi Kurdish region, told U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter that the Kurds had succeeded in liberating Bashiqa from ISIL. 

Peshmerga fighters told reporters at the scene that they had entered Bashiqa. Journalists were not being allowed into the town, which lies 12 kilometers to the northeast of Mosul. 

Ankara and Baghdad have been at odds over the Turkish training camp near Bashiqa with the Iraqi administration calling on Turkey to leave the area. 

The Bashiqa town’s capture, if confirmed, would mark the removal of one more obstacle on the road to the northern Iraqi city. 

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, said his own information - while limited - “suggests that President Barzani is right, that there has been a considerable success at Bashiqa.” 

But he added: “I have not received a report that says every house has been cleared, every Daesh [ISIL] has been killed and every IED [roadside bomb] has been removed.”