ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Prominent Shia cleric in Iraq Muqtada al-Sadr is the latest to comment on Turkish threats of an incursion into northern Iraq’s Sinjar (Shingal) region, calling on Baghdad to “deter” any Turkish advance into the area.
Following the climax of its campaign in Syrian Kurdistan’s Afrin region on March 18—where Turkey was fighting the US-armed People’s Protection Units (YPG)—President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to advance further east into Manbij and even Iraq’s Shingal.
In a statement published on his website on Monday, the Iraqi Shia cleric said the Federal Government of Iraq “must deter any Turkish advance in Iraqi territory.”
Sadr also addressed Ankara’s ongoing campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Qandil mountains of the Kurdistan Region, noting there was no agreement between the Iraqi government and the Turkish government for such operations.
“It is said that this [targeting of PKK] is in coordination with the Iraqi government, and I do not think so,” he said.
Over the past few weeks, Turkey has intensified its campaign against the Kurdish rebel group who it labels “terrorists,” launching airstrikes on fighters stationed in the Qandil mountains area.
Turkish warplanes have bombed as far as 20 kilometers within the region in some areas, primarily in Sidakan and Mergasor, located on the triangle border of the Kurdistan Region, Turkey, and Iran.
Both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq have condemned the recent Turkish bombings, especially those that killed four civilians camping in the mountains of the Choman district as part of their celebration of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year.