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Turkey MPs Back Extension Of Troop Mandate In Syria, Iraq

Birds fly near a Turkish tank during clashes between Turkish Army and Islamic State militants at Elbeyli in the southern region of Kilis, near the Syrian border, on September 4.

The Turkish parliament has backed extending for another year a mandate for ongoing military operations in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

Forces from Turkey have focused largely on fighting alongside Syrian rebels against militants from the radical fundamentalist Sunni group Islamic State (IS) since invading Syria in a major operation that began in late August.

But they have also targeted Kurdish militia, some of whom are allied with the United States in the multifaceted Syrian conflict that's nearing its six-year mark, as well as attacked members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

Iraqi officials have also expressed concern as Turkish troops appear to be girding for an offensive aimed at taking the IS-held city of Mosul, in northern Iraq.

The Turkish military mandate allowing for troops to operate against terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq to its south dates back to October 2014.

Its extension was backed by ruling and opposition parties.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP