Turkey launches air strikes against Kurdish militants in Iraq ‘planning attack’

Above, Turkish soldiers at Mount Bersaya north of the Syrian town of Azaz during their operation “Olive Branch” against the Kurdish People's Protection Units militia. Turkey also launched air strikes in northern Iraq against Kurdish militants, which Ankara claimed were planning na attack. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Turkey launches air strikes against Kurdish militants in Iraq ‘planning attack’

ANKARA: Turkey launched air strikes in northern Iraq on Kurdish militants planning an attack, the army said on Tuesday, just days after Ankara began an offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria.
The strikes took place on Monday in the Zap region of northern Iraq, not far from Turkey’s southeastern border, the Turkish military said in a statement.
The army said it was targeting members of the “separatist terrorist organization” — Turkey’s official term for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The militants were planning an attack on border security posts and bases, the military said, adding that the strikes destroyed weapons emplacements and shelters.
The PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, and is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
After a two-year cease-fire collapsed in 2015, the Turkish army intensified its military operations against the PKK in the Turkish southeast.
The Turkish air force has regularly carried out raids on PKK rear bases around the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq since then.
Turkish troops also sometimes stage ground incursions into the area.
The strikes in Iraq come four days after Turkey started a military operation, supporting Syrian rebels, against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in a bid to remove it from its western enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.
Ankara views the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK and repeatedly calls them “terrorists.”


German firms end Iran projects amid new US sanctions

Updated 3 min 29 sec ago
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German firms end Iran projects amid new US sanctions

  • New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week and several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the US sanctions

BERLIN: German rail operator Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom are ending projects in Iran after Washington imposed new sanctions against Tehran and said firms doing business with Iran would be barred from doing business with the United States.
New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week and several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the US sanctions, including oil major Total as well as carmakers PSA, Renault and Daimler.
State-owned Deutsche Bahn is involved in two projects in Iran via its subsidiary DB Engineering&Consulting, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
“Both projects will be ended in August and September 2018 respectively,” she said. “Due to the altered banking practice we have sought to bring the contract to an amicable and timely conclusion.”
Deutsche Bahn signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranian rail operator Bonyad Eastern Railways (BonRail) in May 2017 for the first project, which aimed to identify and address potential in rolling stock and organization, she said.
The second project, which started around 1-1/2 years ago, was a consulting contract for Iranian state railway RAI that included restructuring the company, the spokeswoman added.
Separately, Detecon, a subsidiary of T-Systems — Deutsche Telekom’s IT services arm — has terminated its business in Iran, a spokesman said. Detecon offers consulting services to companies in the telecommunications industry.
“Until the decision to stop operations was made, sales in Iran in 2018 amounted to around €300,000,” he said.
“Given the sensitivity in relations with Iran worldwide, Detecon ended its business in Iran with immediate effect in mid-May 2018.”
The ending of Telekom’s involvement in Iran followed soon after the announcement that its US unit, T-Mobile, would buy Sprint Corp. in a $26 billion deal that remains subject to the approval of US regulators.