Turkish soldiers deployed in Mosul to train Iraqi troops: reports

An Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter keeps watch from the top of Mount Zardak, about 25 kilometres east of Mosul (AFP Photo/Safin Hamed)

Istanbul (AFP) - More than 100 Turkish soldiers have been deployed to an area near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is under Islamic State control, to replace a unit providing training to Iraqi troops, reports said Friday.

Around 150 soldiers, backed by 20 to 25 tanks, were sent by road to the Bashiqa town in Mosul, Anatolia news said, citing anonymous sources.

They were replacing Turkish troops which were sent to the region two-and-a-half years ago in order to train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces to, Anatolia added.

Long criticised by its Western allies for not doing enough to stem the rise of the extremist group, Turkey joined the US-led coalition against IS in late July.

In June 2014, jihadists kidnapped 49 staff from Turkey's consulate in Mosul after seizing control of the city.

They were all released unharmed in September 2014 after top-secret negotiations led by Turkey's intelligence agency that reportedly resulted in the release of jihadist prisoners in Turkey in exchange for the embassy staff.