Four Turkish soldiers were wounded on Wednesday when Islamic State (IS) jihadists fired mortars on a training camp near the Iraqi city of Mosul, a Turkish official said.
The Turkish military responded to the attack on the camp — used to train Iraqi anti-jihadist fighters with Turkish help — with fire of their own, the CNN-Turk and NTV channels reported, citing military sources.
“Four Turkish troops were wounded in a mortar attack against the military training camp near Mosul,” the Turkish official told AFP, emphasising that the attack originated from IS-held territory.
“All four servicemen have since been evacuated and are currently undergoing medical treatment. We are pleased to confirm that their condition is stable,” added the official, asking not to be named.
According to CNN-Turk, IS jihadists fired up to 60 mortar rounds over several hours. The Turkish forces stationed in the camp responded with artillery fire.
One of the Turkish troops was seriously wounded but his life is not in danger, it added. The official Anatolia news agency said all four had been taken for treatment in the Sirnak province on the Turkish side of the border.
Turkey earlier this month announced that hundreds of troops had been deployed at the Bashiqa camp to protect Turkish military who were training local Iraqi fighters seeking to recapture Mosul from the IS.
But the deployment outraged the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, which bitterly complained to Ankara and said it would take the issue to the UN Security Council.
In a bid to placate Baghdad, an unspecified contingent of the Turkish troops this week pulled out of the camp and headed northwards.
The Iraqi government on Tuesday demanded the “complete withdrawal” of Turkish forces from its territory, indicating Ankara’s partial pullout the previous day was not enough.
By contrast, the deployment has been supported by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) which controls the northern Iraqi region and has excellent relations with Ankara.