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Iraqi Chief of Staff Hails Joint Exercise With Turkey

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Gen. Othman al-Ghanimi meets Turkish colleagues at Habur border gate.

As a military exercise involving Turkish and Iraqi troops continues along Turkey’s eastern borders, Iraq’s senior officer has praised Ankara for helping train his soldiers.

The Turkish Second Army Command commander welcomed Iraqi Chief of Staff Iraqi Chief of Staff Gen. Othman al-Ghanimi at the Habur border gate on Tuesday.

This came after control of the crossing -- also known as the Ibrahim Khalil border gate -- between Turkey and northern Iraq was handed over to Baghdad.

Turkish Lieutenant Gen. Ismail Metin Temel and Ghanimi exchanged views on the military exercise which started Sept. 18.

Turkey started its military manoeuvers in the southeastern Silopi region a week ahead of a referendum on independence in northern Iraq.

The area sits to the north of the Syrian and Iraqi borders. The Habur border crossing provided the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq with its main access point to the outside world.

Across the Syrian frontier from Silopi lies territory controlled by the PKK/PYD. Counterterrorism operations targeting the PKK on the Turkish side of the border are ongoing.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU and U.S. as well as Turkey, although only Turkey has designated the PKK/PYD as a terror group in Syria, where it is used by the U.S.-led coalition to fight Daesh.


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