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Turkey Pushes 10 km Deep into Iraqi Kurdistan Territory

Turkey Pushes 10 km Deep into Iraqi Kurdistan Territory

Tuesday, 27 March, 2018 - 09:15
Peshmerga forces discuss tactics after securing several strategic facilities in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar Ari Jalal/Reuters

Kurdish officials announced on Monday that Turkish infantry forces going 10 kilometers into Iraq’s Kurdistan region of Iraq and took control over 30 villages, with Baghdad announcing that any foreign incursion into Iraqi territory is hostile.

Border protection commander in Dohuk province, Col. Delir Zebari said that the Turkish army “has been present in the area since November and has set up bases in the Amidiya district.”

“They (Turkish troops) are 10 kilometers into Kurdistan region territory in the Amadiya region.”

Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said that “any incursion or uninvited military action from any country within the territory of Iraq is a violation of sovereignty and an unacceptable hostile act.”

Hadithi also denied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claim of a security meeting between the two sides taking place on the problem in Kurdistan Sinjar.

On Sunday, Erdogan declared a military campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Shingal, two days after the group announced its withdrawal from the area.

The Turkish President warned that should Iraq fail to secure the border area, Ankara would send troops across the border, vowing “to fight terrorists inside and outside Turkey.”

“It’s our job to clear the area,” an Iraqi military spokesperson responded.

Yazidi figures demanded international protection for Sinjar.

“We have called for a long time now that the United Nations through a joint operations room and in coordination with the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government to protect Sinjar,” Sinjar public representative Mahma Khalil told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Most Yazidis seek UN protection, but we have not received any response from the international organization so far,” he added.

“Turkey and the PKK are directly responsible for the Sinjar crisis, and both the Iraqi and US governments must take full responsibility for the sovereignty and prestige of the Iraqi state," Khalil said.

“Turkish forces have not moved so far towards Sinjar, and the PKK, which is composed of about 1,200 fighters, mostly Yazidis, is still present despite officially announcing withdrawal,” he added.

Khalil did not rule out an imminent attack by the Turkish forces on Sinjar.

Yazidi Member of the Iraqi Parliament Vian Dakhil has warned the UN that the situation in Sinjar remains unstable for thousands of families in the area as Turkey threatened to carry out military operations in northern Iraq.

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