400 square-km northern Iraq region cleared of militants: Turkish PM
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey has cleared 400 square kilometers of region in northern Iraq of militants, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on June 21, adding that Turkey has 11 temporary military bases in Iraq’s north.
“We are shelling the Kandil Mountain through air operations at times. This time the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorists are crossing into Iran when they are on the back foot,” the prime minister said in a televised interview with private broadcaster A Haber on June 21.
According to Yıldırım, Turkey has no problem with Iran over its Kandil operation.
Kandil Mountains are situated close to the border between Iran and Iraq. Tehran holds significant influence over Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.
“We cleared the area in northwestern Syria’s Afrin district during ‘Operation Olive Branch.’ We will do the same in the Kandil Mountain area,” he added.
In January 2018, Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” to remove the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the northwestern Afrin district, which it sees as the offshoot of the PKK.
On March 18, the Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army declared full control over the city on the 58th day of the operation.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 20 vowed to continue to hit the PKK in Kandil.
“We have struck 10 critical points in Kandil. We have also finished off a number of [PKK] leaders who were in a meeting,” Erdoğan said at an election campaign rally in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.