Turkish warplanes ‘destroy 18 Kurdish militant targets in Iraq’

Turkey’s joint cross-border operation with Iraq is likely to start after Baghdad holds elections in May. (Reuters)
Updated 12 March 2018
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Turkish warplanes ‘destroy 18 Kurdish militant targets in Iraq’

ISTANBUL: Turkish warplanes destroyed at least 18 targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq over the weekend, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Sunday.
The strikes, carried out on Saturday and Sunday, targeted the Hakurk, Zap, Metina, Gara and Avasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, Anadolu said, citing the Turkish military.
Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is based in the Qandil mountains.
The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by the US, the EU and Turkey, has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast that has killed some 40,000 people.
Turkey in January launched a separate military operation in northern Syria’s Afrin region to sweep Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters from its southern border. Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the PKK.
US support for the YPG in the fight against Daesh in Syria has strained ties between Ankara and Washington, both members of the NATO military alliance.
On Thursday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying that Turkey and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad will carry out a joint operation against Kurdish militants in Iraq.
Cavusoglu was quoted as saying the joint cross-border operation with Iraq may start after Iraq holds parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2018, signaling Turkish troops may move to northern Iraq following the ongoing offensive.


Iraqi PM Abadi and cleric Sadr announce political alliance

Updated 1 min 9 sec ago
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Iraqi PM Abadi and cleric Sadr announce political alliance

  • Al-Abadi and Al-Sadr said their political blocs would enter into an alliance
  • It will “cross sectarian and ethnic divisions,” the leaders said

NAJAF: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said on Saturday their political blocs, which came in third and first place in a May parliamentary election respectively, would enter into an alliance.
The alliance between Abadi’s Victory Alliance and Sadr’s Saeroon will “cross sectarian and ethnic divisions,” the leaders said at a news conference in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where Sadr lives.
Earlier in June, Sadr and Hadi Al-Amiri, a Shiite militia commander with close ties to Iran whose Fatih coalition came second in the election, had announced an alliance between their blocs.
It was not immediately clear if Saturday’s announcement meant the top three blocs would now work together. Abadi and Sadr said their alliance “doesn’t not mean the door is closed for the remaining blocs” to join them.
Political leaders in Iraq traditionally hold such meetings after elections as part of the lengthy and often complicated process of forming a coalition government, as no one party ever wins enough seats to form a government on its own.
The process is further complicated this time round because the next parliament is born of an election marred by historically low turnout and allegations of fraud. The outgoing parliament has mandated a nationwide manual recount of votes and Iraq’s top court upheld that move, which faced legal challenges.