On October 26, Turkey’s Customs Minister Bulent Tufenkci told the Turkish Anadolu Agency that Ankara and Baghdad agreed to open a new border crossing in Ovaköy area north of the Iraqi city of Mosul.
“I had the impression that the Iraqi government agrees that there should be a second border gate,” Tufenkci said.
Tufenkci said that Tukey and Iraq will have to provide extra security measures because both ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are operating near Ovaköy area. However, the Turkish minister stressed that once these threats are addressed there will be no other obstacle for Turkey and Iraq.
The Iraqi Army already began advancing towards the Iraqi-Turkish border area north of Mosul. On October 26, the Iraqi Army secured Omar Khaled, Ain Uways, Al-Jazronia and Ahmad Agha villages only 20km away from the Iraqi-Turkish border.
During its advance, the Iraqi Army effectively cut off the road to the Suwaidia border crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The border crossing is run by the Kurdish Peshmerga force in Iraq, and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria.
Back on October 25, the Kurdistan Security Council said that the Iraqi Army is about to launch an attack to capture the Faysh Khabur border crossing north of the Suwaidia border crossing. Faysh Khabur is considered the last operational border crossing between the SDF and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Moreover, the US-led coalition mainly uses the Faysh Khabur border crossing to supply the SDF and its forces inside Syria.
Imminent attack expected by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF on Peshmerga in NW Mosul despite KRG’s calls for talks. Statement soon.
— KR Security Council (@KRSCPress) October 25, 2017
While the US-led coalition could easily resupply its forces inside Syria by airplanes, the loss of the border crossing will likely have a catastrophic effect on the SDF.
It is already reported that fighters of the SDF participated in clashes against the Iraqi Army near Suwaidia. Local sources confirmed that at least 3 Syrian SDF fighters were killed during the clashes near Suwaidia:
-Aldar Huas Nader from Afrin city;
-Hanan Abd al-Ruhman Hanan from Afrin city;
-Rudi Mohamad Saleh from al- Darbasiyah.
The SDF intervention against the Iraqi Army is not a surprise considering that the SDF has been adopting a very aggressive agenda against all non-Kurdish sides in the region lately.
This aggressive behavior of the SDF became notable after the US-led shot down a Syrian Air Force warplane that the SDF accused of bombing its position in the southern Raqqa countryside on June 18. The SDF likely considered the US-led coalition action as a “green light” to attack any side that oppose its agenda.
However, the Iraqi Army will likely capture both Faysh Khabur and Suwaidia border crossing border crossing, and even secure the new border crossing with Turkey. As for the SDF, like the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) in Iraq, it will likely face the consequences of its poor planning at some point.