Russia to Turkey: Withdraw your troops from Iraq

Lavrov says ‘what the Turks are doing’ in Iraq ‘deserves far greater public attention’

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Russia demands that Turkey withdraw its troops from Iraq, the RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Tuesday.

“This (keeping troops in Iraq) is an absolutely unacceptable position,” it cited Lavrov as saying. “In principle, I believe that what the Turks are doing deserves far greater public attention on the part of our Western partners.”

A source from the Turkish military said on Tuesday that warplanes recently targeted a camp for Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels in northern Iraq, killing 14 of them.

The Turkish military has been carrying out regular air strikes against positions of the outlawed group in the mountainous regions of northern Iraq, where it has camps near the Turkish border, after the collapse of ceasefire last year.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding a homeland for Turkey's biggest minority.
Since then, the group has pared back its demands to focus on cultural rights and a measure of autonomy.

In a related story, Russia on Tuesday angrily denied its planes had conducted air strikes overnight against the Syrian rebel-held city of Idlib, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said had killed 23 people.

“Russian planes did not carry out any combat missions, to say nothing of any air strikes, in the province of Idlib,” Igor Konashenkov, a Russian Defence Ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

Russia is a key ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and has supported its regime by giving its forces an air backing.

(With Reuters)

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