According to the Turkish President, the next stage of Operation Euphrates Shield will be conducted not only on the Syrian territory, but also in Iraq.
The next stages of the Euphrates Shield operation, which had been recently concluded, would be broader and in addition to Syria would include terrorist-held territories in Iraq, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, speaking to the Turkish NTV and Star networks.
The Turkey’s leader described the military operation as the first stage of the country’s counterterrorism road map and added that expanded stages would follow.
The future operation will have “not [only] a Syrian dimension, [but] also an Iraqi dimension. There are the Tal Afar and Sinjar situations [in Iraq]. We also have kin in Mosul [Turkmens],” the Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan’s words.
The Euphrates Shield operation was launched last August and carried out with support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The main official goal of the campaign was to support the coalition’s forces, improve security and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border. The operation was concluded on March 29.
The Turkish President noted that the situation was worse in Iraqi region of Sinjar and added that the city had all chances to become the “second Qandil” for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered as a terrorist organization in Turkey, referring to the PKK’s headquarters in the Iraqi Qandil Mountains. “There are around 2,500 PKK terrorists in the efforts to create this second Qandil,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish President also called Shia Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a terror group, which, according to Erdogan, is operating in Iraq as an invasion and occupation movement.
“When we look at it all, there is a support for Iranian and Persian nationalism based on sects in Iraq. They disseminate it with sectarianism and spread it on the basis of Persian nationalism,” he said.