300 Turkish Troops Enter Iraq
posted by Paul Fiddian | 06.11.2009
According to Iraqi officials, around 300 Turkish soldiers have crossed the border into Iraq.
Their current position is understood to be around three kilometres inside Iraqi territory and â added a spokesman â they are moderately armed.
The Turkish capital of Ankara has so far not commented.
Turkish Troop Movement Follows Airstrikes
The troop movement is thought to be the first significant one involving Turkish troops in Iraq since its parliament voted to permit the launch of military operations against the militant PKK organisation. It also follows the early morning airstrikes carried out on the 16th December â in which up to 50 Turkish warplanes are thought to have participated.
Speaking to news agency Reuters, a senior figure within the Iraqi military described the operation as limited in nature, and thought an expansion unlikely.
Turkish Army Blames PKK for Using Iraq to Launch Assaults
The Turkish Army places blame on members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for using sites within Iraq to launch assaults Turkeyâs way.
Todayâs incursion has been criticised by the Iraqi Kurdish regional authorities. "Turkey wants to transfer the problem onto the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan," stated Fouad Hussein -Â a senior official in the office Â of Mahmoud Barzani, the Kurdish regional President.
According to one source, the Turkish soldiers entered Iraq in Seeda Kan â an area nestled between Iraq, Iran and Turkey, and which he described as mountainous and difficult to negotiate.
Iraqi forces reported that small arms fire was audible from this site.
The Turkish airstrikes saw bombs unleashed on sites where the PKK were suspected to be based. However, officials in Iraq have claimed ten villages were also affected, and that one civilian fatality occurred. The PKK said seven people died.
At present, as many as 100,000 members of the Turkish Army are gathered where Turkey meets Iraq, supported by warplanes, artillery and armoured vehicles.
Source â Armed Forces Internationalâs Middle East Correspondent
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