Iraq Increases Forces Near Turkish Border to Counter Ankara Tensions

Published March 27th, 2018 - 12:17 GMT
Iraqi Prime Minister has urged military to boost members around the country's border with Turkey, as tensions with Ankara mount over the presence of Kurdish militias in the area. (AFP/ File Photo)
Iraqi Prime Minister has urged military to boost members around the country's border with Turkey, as tensions with Ankara mount over the presence of Kurdish militias in the area. (AFP/ File Photo)

Iraqi troops have been ordered to the country's border with Turkey, as tensions with Ankara mount over the presence of Kurdish militias in the region.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Monday he had told the Iraqi military to increase their presence along the country's long and porous border with Turkey.

Troops had been instructed to take control of the area and prevent fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) from launching cross-border raids into Turkey, Abadi said.

The prime minister's statement followed a phone call with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, when Abadi assured Ankara that Baghdad forces would prevent Kurdish militants from launching attacks inside Turkey from Iraqi soil.

Abadi also "rejected any violation by Turkey" of Iraqi territory after Ankara warned it was "inevitable" Turkey would launch an attack on PKK forces in Iraq.

Turkey has warned that it could soon begin operations against PKK fighters in the Kurdish-Yazadi area of Sinjar with Iraq rushing armoured divisions to the area in response.

On Tuesday, Iraqi-Kurdish news agency Rudaw said the PKK had withdrawn from the area. 

Other local PKK-alligned forces would be incorporated into the Iraqi ministry of defence with fighters paid salaries by the Baghdad government.

It is hoped that the absence of PKK fighters in Sinjar will quell Ankara's fears and its appetite for intervention. 

The presence of Iraqi government forces in Sinjar and the border region will also embolden Baghdad in its tense relations with Turkey.

Turkey has launched a number of ground and air assaults on Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime 15 years ago. 

Turkish jets launched strikes inside Iraq Monday and troops occupy a number of villages in the Qandil region. 

The PKK has fought a three-decade war with the Turkish government with tens of thousands of Ankara troops, Kurdish fighters, and civilians killed in the bloodshed.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

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