Middle East Turkey 'ready' for cross-border operations against Kurdish groups: Officials

Turkey 'ready' for cross-border operations against Kurdish groups: Officials
Turkish soldiers in a tank and an armored vehicle patrol on the road to the town of Beytussebab in the southeastern Sirnak Province, Turkey, Sep. 28, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkish armed forces have recently finished preparations to conduct cross-border operations into Syria and Iraq against Kurdish groups there, state media reported on Friday.

The public-funded Anadolu news agency, citing unnamed security sources, said the air and ground forces drafted plans for attacks on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and US-allied People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Reports of Turkish army reinforcements to military bases in Kurdish majority provinces on the border with Iraq and Syria came following US President Donald Trump’s Tuesday meeting in Washington, DC with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Viewing both YPG and PKK as one and “terrorists,” after meeting with Trump, Erdogan said his army could assault the Kurdish groups “without asking for permission from anyone” should Turkey come under attack.

The US strongly objected last month’s deadly airstrikes on the YPG which is fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

The land forces “made scenarios” involving incursions into the Kurdistan Region where the PKK has camps and Syria where Kurdish-led parties set up a self-declared autonomous region.

Logistical support lines for an unspecified number of armored vehicles, ammunition, and troops to bases in Hakkari and Sirnak across the Kurdistan Region and Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, and Hatay facing northern Syria were drawn, said the agency.

Turkey has staged five major ground incursions into Iraq in offensives on PKK bases in the mountains of the Kurdistan Region.

The first was in 1992 and the last of them in 2008.

In August 2016, backing Syrian rebels, the Turkish army launched the invasion of a pocket of land under IS control in northern Syria to prevent further Kurdish gains there.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany