1 thought on “Syria: government gains, international complications”

  1. Two and a half weeks before it holds simultaneous general and presidental elections, Turkey is poised for operations inside Iraq to crush the PKK, (Kurdistan Workers Party), perhaps even striking at its nerve centre, its bases in a 50 sq km enclave on Mount Qandil in the Zagros mountains 100 km to the south as the crow flies. On Wednesday Turks learnt that General Ismail Metin Temel who commanded Turkey’s two military operations in Syria, Euphrates Shield at Jarabolus and Olive Branch at Afrian is also to head military operations in northern Iraq against Mount Qandil and six other PKK Iraqi outposts. One of the earliest targets is expected to be Baraz Gir north of the Iraqi town of Soran, where Turkish newspapers claim the PKK’s archives –and indications of its international support — are kept. Turkish forces now control a 20 km strip inside Iraq despite continuing fierce fighting which has claimed the lives of eight Turkish special forces soldiers since 20 May. They have set up 11 military outposts or ‘bases.’ On Tuesday night Turkish jets struck at PKK targets at Khwakurk, Gara, Metin, Zap, Qandil, and Avashin, killing six militants. So far neither the Kurdish Regional Government in Erbil nor the Iraqi Federal Government in Baghdad have commented on Turkey’s operations.

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