10/08/2016, 17.15
CHINA – IRAQ

Uyghur mercenaries a growing presence among jihadists in Mosul

Armenian intelligence has been warning for some time about the movement of people and weapons from Xinjiang to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Syria and Iraq. In Mosul, Uyghurs are used as police. In Nagorno Karabakh, they engaged in violence. Iraqi commander comes out against Erdogan’s ambitions in Mosul.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – More and more Asian fighters speaking Chinese are seen in the streets of Mosul, jihadi Uighur mercenaries who came to Syria through Turkey at the start of the war. In the last few months, they and their families have moved from Rakka in Syria – the Islamic State’s capital – to Iraq.

In April 2015, many of them went from Turkey to Azerbaijan to attack targets in Nagorno Karabakh in what came to be known as the ‘Four-day War’.

Armenian intelligence informed the West and Russia that Uyghur, Turkmen and Chechen fighters left Azerbaijan for Turkey.

Dubbed Daesh’s police, the Uyghurs can be seen everywhere in Mosul. Deployed in markets, intersections, and government buildings, their task is to police the capital of the Islamic Caliphate.

According to information from Mosul, Caliph al-Baghdadi also gave Uyghurs the important mission of securing the plains lying to the right of Mosul.

For years, Turkey has backed Turkic-speaking Muslim Uyghurs in their struggle to secede from China. It is also common knowledge that Ankara brought in and trained Uyghurs fighters before sending them to Syria.

Now the Uyghurs have "voluntarily" moved from Syria to Iraq with Daesh at a time when Turkey, as its only supporter, threatens to participate in the ground assault to free Mosul from Daesh, “which has nothing to do with Islam."

Two days ago, Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who also said that Daesh has "nothing to do with Islam”, noted that "We are fighting armed men from dozens of countries who joined Daesh".

Scores of reports suggest however that Turkey has allowed jihadist fighters and weapons to enter Syria and, through the latter, Iraq.

Iraqi Popular Forces Commander Karim Al Nuri, told a Pan-Arab television network that “we shall liberate Mosul with Iraqi groups" and that "we cannot allow Mosul to become a platform for Turkish President Erdogan’s ambitions."

Nuri was referring  to statements by the Turkish president announcing a few days ago that Turkey would take part in the offensive against the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul. According to Erdogan, only "Sunni Arabs and Kurds, and Turkmen" should remain in Mosul.

Speaking on the matter, Nuri welcome international efforts in favour of Iraq but stressed that “Turkey’s (military) intervention in Iraq is a violation of international law”.

In view of this, he called on the Turkish president to change plans, describing “Turkish presence in Iraq is no different to Daesh occupation”.

"We want to liberate Mosul and reiterate its Arab character. Those who think they can act as guardians of Turkmen” are mistaken. “Turkmen are Iraqi citizens, and we shall not allow them to become someone’s else pawns.” (P.B.)

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