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Iraq warns Turkey of 'regional war' if it doesn't withdraw troops

Turkey says it deployed troops in northern Iraq to train Iraqi forces to fight against Islamic State.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Picture: Facebook.com.

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned Turkey that keeping troops in northern Iraq could lead to a "regional war," according to comments broadcast on state TV on Wednesday.

Abadi, who spoke at news conference Tuesday evening, was reacting to the Turkish parliament's decision last week to extend a mandate that allows military operations against terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria for another year.

"We have asked more than once the Turkish side not to intervene in Iraqi matters and I fear that the Turkish adventure could turn into a regional war," Abadi said.

"The Turkish leadership's behaviour is not acceptable and we don't want to get into a military confrontation with Turkey."

The Iraqi parliament also voted on Tuesday on a text that condemns the Turkish parliament's decision.

Turkey says it deployed troops at a base in northern Iraq late last year as part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight against Islamic State which controls vast territory south of the border region, around the city of Mosul, and also in neighbouring Syria.

The Iraqi government says it never invited such a force and considers the Turkish troops as occupiers.

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