Late on December 31, a rocket attack targeted a Turkish military base near the town of Zaylkan in Bashiqa district in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh.
According to local reports, the Turkish military base was struck by four Grad 122 mm rockets. No casualties or material losses have been reported so far. The Turkish Ministry of National Defense has not commented on the attack, yet.
The rocket attack may have been carried out by Iranian-backed forces who are frustrated with Turkey’s military presence and activities in the northern region.
However, the main suspects are fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The attack is likely a response to Turkey’s ongoing military operations in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
The military base is located 20 kilometers to the northeast of Mosul city and more than 60 km to the northwest of Erbil city, the capital of the Kurdistan Region.
The base was established by Turkish military back in 2015-2016, when Mosul was under control of ISIS militants. In 2016, Turkey deployed about 500 troops to the Bashiqa camp without an authorization from the Iraqi government, arguing that the move is aimed to prevent potential attacks by ISIS and the PKK militant groups. With the new escalation of Turkey’s fight against the PKK in Syria and northern Iraq, its military presence in the disputed Nineveh province is supposed to have significantly grown, despite multiple calls from Baghdad to withdraw from the area.
In April, the Turkish military and security forces launched Claw-Lightning and Thunderbolt operations to neutralize the remnants of the PKK in Metina, Zap and Avashin Basyan regions of Kurdistan. Ankara claimed that more than 500 fighters of the PKK have been killed, wounded or captured since the beginning of the operations.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- New Rocket Attack Targets Turkish Military Base In Northern Iraq
- Mysterious Small Drone Crashes Near Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters In Baghdad