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Turkey has quietly escalated offensive against Kurdish militants as warning to Iran

Special to WorldTribune.com

ANKARA — Turkey has been conducting a sustained air and ground
campaign against Kurdish insurgents.

Western diplomatic sources said the government of Prime Minister Recep
Erdogan was overseeing a Turkish military buildup near the borders with Iraq
and Syria. They said Erdogan was briefed by the intelligence community
that Iran was providing tens of millions of dollars to the Kurdish Workers
Party to intensify attacks on Turkey.

The Turkish Air Force has been conducting nearly daily strikes on suspected PKK strongholds in northern Iraq.

“Turkey, without fanfare, has been striking PKK targets with a frequency not seen in years,” a diplomat said.

The sources said the Turkish Air Force has been conducting nearly daily strikes on suspected PKK strongholds in northern Iraq. They said the operations were meant to prevent PKK fighters from crossing into Turkey and neighboring Syria. At the same time, the Turkish Army has designated 15 closed zones near the Iraqi border.

In October, the Turkish Air Force deployed about 25 U.S.-origin F-16
multi-role fighters to its base at Diyarbakir. Diyarbakir has been the
launching pad for Turkish air strikes on the Kandil mountains in northern Iraq, believed controlled by PKK.

“The countries that directly or indirectly support the terrorist
organization’s acts will one day face that gun themselves,” Erdogan said on
Oct. 21.

Turkey has acknowledged an offensive on the PKK. The government said
more than 325 PKK fighters have been killed since July, many of them in
clashes in southeastern Turkey.

The sources said the offensive against the PKK was meant to warn Iran
and Iraq to halt support for the Kurdish insurgents. They said Ankara has
been alarmed by the PKK buildup in neighboring Syria, estimated at up to
2,500 fighters and believed led by a Syrian named Fehman Hussein.

“The Turks believe that Iran and Russia were bolstering the PKK to
conduct operations from Syria in retaliation for Ankara’s hosting of the
rebel movement against [Syrian President Bashar] Assad,” another diplomat
said.

The United States has been helping Turkey in the campaign against PKK.
The sources said Washington was providing tactical and strategic
intelligence on PKK movements in Iraq and Syria as well as arms shipments
and other supplies by Iran.

“The path of terror, violence and weapons has ended,” Erdogan said.

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1 Comment for “Turkey has quietly escalated offensive against Kurdish militants as warning to Iran”

  1. [...] Tayyip Erdoğan has called for unity between Turks and Kurds, and Turkey reportedly “has been striking PKK targets with a frequency not seen in years.” Prisoners in Sincan Prison entered the [...]

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