The Latest: Iraq PM says Mosul abuses not systematic

BAGHDAD — The Latest from the AP’s exclusive interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (all times local):

10:20 p.m.

Iraq’s prime minister says initial investigations into allegations of abuse during the Mosul operation found they were carried out by individuals and not “systematic.”

In an interview with The Associated Press Saturday, Haider al-Abadi said Iraqi troops found guilty are being held accountable and “at the moment we are listening to all reports, to all claims, there is no indication that this is a systematic abuse of human rights.”

The operation to retake Mosul was marked by allegations of extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detentions by Iraqi security forces, including a wave of alleged killings of suspected IS members at the tail end of the operation captured on mobile phone videos.

Al-Abadi says both soldiers and officers have been held accountable, but officers are largely charged with “negligence,” unless they were found to have issued orders to commit the abuses.


9:50 p.m.

Iraq’s prime minister says Turkey has pledged to leave the controversial military camp in northern Iraq that strained relations between the two countries in the lead-up to the Mosul operation.

“Our Turkish counterparts have promised they will solve this very quickly,” al-Abadi says during an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday.

The controversy began in 2015 when a few hundred Turkish troops, tanks and heavy artillery moved into Iraq’s north, sparking repeated calls from Baghdad to withdraw.

Ankara insisted the forces entered with Baghdad’s permission and initially pledged to take part in the fight to retake Mosul.

“They say we’ll pull out when Daesh is defeated,” al-Abadi continued, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “We then said ‘now in Nineveh Daesh is defeated you met your requirement and you met our requirements’ so I think they promised they will evacuate very soon.”


9:40 p.m.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Iraq is in “lengthy negotiations” with European nations regarding the return of Iraqi refugees.

Al-Abadi tells The Associated Press Saturday: “We don’t want to lose our citizens. I’m not going to support forced repatriation into Iraq but I think all of Iraqis they found it very tough to be in Europe as a refugee.”

In 2015 alone the United Nations estimated that some 80,000 Iraqis made the treacherous journey to Europe by sea, fleeing an economic downturn and instability in the face of Islamic State group…

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