Turkey has 11 ‘temporary’ military bases in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told A Haber broadcaster on June 21. The prime minister added that 400 km2 of northern Iraq had been cleared of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Yildirim said that the Turkish military is shelling PKK positions in Qandil Mountains and claimed that PKK members are crossing into Iran hidding from the attacks. The top Turkish official clarified that Ankara has no problems with Iran over the Qandil operation.
“We cleared the area in northwestern Syria’s Afrin during Operation Olive Branch. We will do the same thing in Mt. Qandil area,” Yildirim said.
President Recep Erdogan announced on June 11 that Turkish forces had launched a military operation against the PKK in the regions of Qandil and Sinjar. It’s ongoing invloving a limited number of Special Operations Forces troops on the ground.
On January 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to defeat the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – a Kurdish armed group described by Ankara as the PKK’s local branch – in the Syrian region of Afrin. On May 18, the Turkish army and its proxies captured most of the region, including the town of Afrin.