ANKARA (Reuters) - Around half of some 3,000 Iraqi forces trained by Turkey at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq are taking part in the operation to drive Islamic State from the city of Mosul, Turkish military sources said on Monday.
Turkey has been locked in a row with Iraq’s central government over the presence of Turkish troops at Bashiqa and over who should take part in the U.S.-backed assault on Mosul.
“Around half of the 3,000 are currently taking part in the operation. The other half are being kept in reserve,” one of the sources told Reuters.
The source said there were Shi‘ites, Yazidis and Christians in the force, which also included Turkmen fighters.
“There is currently no participation in the operation by the Turkish military, but developments are being watched very closely,” the source said.
Iraqi government forces, with air and ground support from the U.S.-led coalition, launched their offensive on Monday to drive Islamic State from Mosul, the jihadist group’s last major stronghold in Iraq.
Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall