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Investigation: Turkey is not going to withdraw its troops from Iraq and is hosting ISIL exercises

Turkey keeps lying that it is fighting ISIL and is going to withdraw its troops from Iraq.

EADaily has analyzed the last actions of the Turkish authorities to see how far they are from their words.

ISIL fighter: “We were trained in Turkish city of Adana as Free Syrian Army soldiers”

Turkey insists that it is not training ISIL fighters, but there are more and more facts proving otherwise. A few days ago, Kurdish self-defenders captured several ISIL fighters in the northeast of Syria. One of them said he was trained in Turkey.

“I was trained by an ISIL commander in Adana in August,” the 20-year-old Abdurahman Abdulhadi told Kurds.

“There were 60 trainees. We got up early in the morning for drills. Once a week we were taught to use Kalashnikov rifles and machine guns. One of our instructors was from Urfa. We moved to Turkey because our commanders told us it was safer there,” Abdurahman said.

He said that every time journalists came, they were introduced as Free Syrian Army soldiers even though all of them were ISIL fighters. 

After the training Abdurahman stayed in Turkey. His commander instructed him to look for new ISIL fighters in Syria. “Once I found them, they were sent to Urfa and then to Raqqa,” the ISIL fighter said.

He said that their arms were brought from Iraq by cars under the label of food or humanitarian cargo.

In December, Abdurahman was sent to the northeast of Syria. “The next night I was arrested by Kurds,” he said.

Al Qaida recruiter: Our brother is in Turkey and has no money to go back to Syria

Last week, the Turkish authorities said that this year alone they stopped almost 40,000 fighters attempting to cross their border to join ISIL terrorists. It is hard to say if this is true or not. But in social networks Jihadists mentioned quite different problems: 23-year-old blogger Abu Rofik is in fact an Al Qaida recruiter. He contacts mostly Russian-speaking Jihadists. One of his last calls says: “Our brother has been detained in Turkey. He has been interrogated and set free but now he has no money to go back to Syria.” This is not the only time Jihadists are asking people for money. In most cases it is the lack of money rather than the “lock” on the Turkish border that prevents them from going to Syria and Iraq.

Iraq: Turkish soldiers are posting pictures of their troops transferred to Iraq

The Turks are not going to withdraw its troops from Iraq. On the contrary, they may well be going to send more forces to that country. A week ago the Turks promised to withdraw the troops they illegally sent to Mosul “so as to train Iraqi Kurds and Sunni self-defenders against ISIL.” But they in Baghdad do not believe them – for they have long been setting sights on Mosul and Kirkuk.

That’s why they complained to the UN. The Turks promised to go away but are not going to keep their promise. Selfies from Bashiqa and Bahzani near Mosul picture hundreds of Turkish soldiers sleeping in barracks and showing no wish to leave the area. Those men cannot be instructors as most of them have posts picturing them wearing civilian clothes just a month before.

So, not only aren’t the Turks going to withdraw their troops but they seem to be planning to send even more soldiers there. One Turkish soldier posted a photo picturing him being transferred to the Iraqi border as part of a while battalion. One of the comments says: “Now I have all I consider to be sacred: I have a gun in my hand, I am guarding my border, I am wearing a uniform. And if need be I will give my life for my homeland...”

It is not clear what a whole armed battalion may be doing on the border. So, it may well be sent to Iraq.

In recent days the Turks have been posting photos of military trucks moving somewhere. But it is hard to say where exactly they are moving: to Iraq or to the Kurdish provinces of Turkey.

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