PENTAGON - Iraq on Saturday demanded Turkey immediately withdraw its forces from a region near Mosul, saying the deployment is a "serious violation" of its sovereignty.
The statement by the Iraqi prime minister's office confirmed a Turkish regiment and several tanks and artillery entered Iraqi territory without Baghdad's approval.
Turkish officials said the troops were in the Mosul Bashiqa region for “routine training exercises.” The troops crossed the border about 30 kilometers from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.
Turkish media reported the deployment was part of a regular turnover with the new Turkish troops replacing special forces that had previously been conducting training for anti-IS forces in the area.
U.S. officials confirmed the move late Friday, saying one Turkish battalion had positioned itself on the Iraqi side of the border.
“They say they're training, seems like they are,” one official told VOA on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. said the deployment is not part of coalition efforts against the Islamic State terror group but was instead part of a Turkish-Iraqi arrangement.
Turkish officials said it had notified U.S. and other coalition countries in advance of the deployment.