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Iraq condemns Turkish attacks on PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdistan

According to Turkish authorities 19 PKK fighters have been killed as part of operation "Lock Claw"
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AP/TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTRY  -   A soldier stands guard at the border crossing at the Iraqi border in Hakkari province, Turkey.

Turkey's new military offensive against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has angered Iraq for using its territory as an offensive zone. Taking advantage of the political crisis in Iraq, Turkey has launched a new offensive through an air and ground attack against positions where Kurdish members of the PKK are believed to be located.

For this reason, the Iraqi government has condemned the operation, considering it a violation of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

According to Baghdad, Ankara did not inform the federal authority of the new attack and merely coordinated the new military offensives with other leaders located in the area of Iraqi Kurdistan. These operations were reportedly approved to coincide with the visit of Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to Ankara, where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan. 

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AFP/BAKR ALKASEM - A Turkish-backed Syrian fighter holds a light machine gun as he looks on during military exercises in the Sheikh Hadid district in the Afrin region of northwestern Syria, 5 August 2021

They report that Turkey, like Iran, is reportedly treating Iraq as a 'permissible' zone in which to carry out military strikes. Iran has also carried out similar attacks, such as last month's Revolutionary Guard attack on civilians in locations in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Thus, the Iraqi Foreign Minister has summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad to protest against the operation carried out by Turkey as part of its plan to wipe out PKK members, considered a terrorist group by Ankara. 

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AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN - A U.S. armored vehicle drives past a billboard of the Syrian Kurdish Kurdish Women's Protection Units (YPJ) during a patrol in the northeastern Syrian town of Qahtaniyah, on the border with Turkey, Oct. 31, 2019

The minister said in a press release that Turkey should put an end to "such unacceptable acts of provocation and violations". He added that "Iraq has the legal right to take necessary and appropriate measures in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter and the norms of international law against such hostile and unilateral acts, which take place without coordination with the Iraqi government".

For his part, the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, energetically condemned the Turkish offensive after tweeting that "neighbouring Turkey has bombed Iraqi lands unjustly and without pretext". He denounced through the same channel that "if there is a danger coming from Iraqi lands, it must be coordinated with the Iraqi government, for Iraqi security (...) if this is repeated, we will not remain silent. Iraq is a fully sovereign state and we will not accept aggression and destabilisation of the security of its territory". 

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PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

Similarly, the spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic of Iraq stated that "the repetition of Turkish military operations within Iraqi borders in the Kurdistan Region and without coordination with the Iraqi federal government, despite previous calls to stop them and to hold talks and coordination around them, is unacceptable". 

 Operation Lock Claw

This new military operation by Turkey is part of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. The main scenario for this cross-border plan is northern Iraq, in the area considered to be "Iraqi Kurdistan". 
According to the Turkish authorities, the reason for this new military operation is the discovery of a plan to carry out a "large-scale attack" by the PKK on Turkey. The operation began just two days ago, when Turkish Special Forces and commandos landed behind "enemy lines" from UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. 

In the initial offensives, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar reported that 19 PKK fighters were killed and four Turkish soldiers were wounded. 

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AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN - A Syrian Kurdish woman waves the flag of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) during a demonstration against Turkish threats in the town of Ras al-Ain, in Syria's Hasakeh province, near the border with Turkey, on October 6, 2019

According to Akar, the operation is said to include air strikes by aircraft, drones and helicopters, as well as ground raids by Turkish commandos. He added that the country's military forces attacked both designated targets and camps, shelters, tunnels and ammunition storage areas in the Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan areas.

He said that "our heroic pilots managed to hit targets such as hideouts, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots and the so-called headquarters of the terrorist organisation". He also noted that Turkish forces had "neutralised a large number of terrorists" and stressed that "search and reconnaissance operations are continuing in the area" and "their pace is expected to increase in the coming hours and days".