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Turkey Announces Troop Withdrawal From Northern Iraq


Turkey is pulling more troops out of northern Iraq in an effort to deescalate tensions with the Iraqi government, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama urged Ankara to withdraw its troops.

On December 19, the Turkish Foreign Ministry acknowledged a "miscommunication" with Iraq over its recent deployment of troops to the Bashiqa military base, near the IS-held city of Mosul.

The ministry did not say how many troops would be moved or where they would be moved to.

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on December 18 to "deescalate tensions" with Iraq by withdrawing its forces from the region.

The deployment of hundreds of Turkish troops -- who moved from Iraq's Kurdish region to Bashiqa earlier this month -- angered the Iraqi government, which said the soldiers had not been invited and should leave.

Turkey says that the force was part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces that want to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa
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