President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish military operations against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had begun across the border in Qandil and Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Speaking at a campaign rally on Monday, June 11, Erdogan said the Turkish army would “drain the terror swamp” in the Qandil region.
His statement comes a day after the Turkish army said it destroyed 14 PKK targets in the Qandil mountains. Turkish airstrikes around the areas of Zap and Hakurk “neutralized” the PKK’s shelters, weapons caches and ammuition depots, and killed three people, Daily Sabah reported the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) as saying.
On Saturday Turkish Interior Ministry spokesperson Suleyman Soylu said the military operation was “a matter of timing.” The Turkish military pushed 30 km (18.6 miles) into northern Iraq late last week, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. “We have made our preparations on the Agri-Van-Igdir line. Our heroes will be in Qandil soon,” Soylu told CNNTurk.
“We destroyed 14 important targets using 20 of our [war] planes. They hit [their targets], they returned. We are not done. This will continue,” Kurdistan24 reported Erdogan as saying on Monday.
Turkey has incurred into Iraqi territory before to attack the PKK and groups it considers to be affiliated, prompting complaints from Baghdad.
U.S. forces were recently spotted in Sinjar, home to the Yazidi minority. The Iraqi Kurdistan Peshmerga freed the area from Islamic State control in November 2015.
— Afarin Mamosta (@AfarinMamosta) June 3, 2018
In January, the TSK launched ‘Operation Olive Branch‘ against the Kurd-administered enclave of Efrin in northern Syria. Syrian rebels groups backed by Turkey eventually took control of the city from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers to be an offshoot of the PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. A ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK broke down in 2015.
This is a developing story and will be updated