Supporters of Sadr protest in front of the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad calling for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Iraq.
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Just days into the operation to retake the Daesh (ISIS)-held city of Mosul, a fault line has widened between Iraq and Turkey, and the distrust among the various forces arrayed against the extremists has again bubbled to the surface.Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have traded schoolyard insults, and earlier this week thousands of followers of a firebrand Shiite preacher rallied outside the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad, calling for an end to the Turkish "occupation".They were referring to the presence of some 500 Turkish troops at a base north of Mosul who have been training Sunni and Kurdish fighters since last December. Turkey has close ties to the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, which perhaps explains how the troops came to be there in the first place. The Turkish troops are training Kurdish forces loyal to Barzani as well as Sunni fighters loyal to Atheel al-Nujaifi, the former governor of Ninevah province, of which Mosul is the capital.
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