Turkish PM: Troops 30 km inside Iraq, could move on Kurdish stronghold

Turkish forces are stationed 30 km inside northern Iraq and could advance further to target Kurdish PKK militants in their Qandil Mountains stronghold, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2018

Turkish PM: Troops 30 km inside Iraq, could move on Kurdish stronghold

  • Yildrim accused the PKK of carrying out "provocations and traps", and long-distance attacks, and said Turkey would "of course go further" if such actions continued.
  • Turkey already carries out regular cross-border air strikes against the PKK in northern Iraq.

KARS, Turkey: Turkish forces are stationed 30 km inside northern Iraq and could advance further to target Kurdish PKK militants in their Qandil Mountains stronghold, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday.
Stepping up Turkish warnings about expanding its military presence in Kurdish-controlled areas of Iraq, Yildirim told Reuters that Ankara would not hesitate to escalate an offensive against militants across its southern border.
The prospect of a major military operation comes less than three months after Turkish forces drove Kurdish fighters from the Syrian border region of Afrin. Turkey says that Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in north Iraq are next in its sights, despite protests from the central government in Baghdad.
"Our forces have now been positioned some 30 km into northern Iraq, working to prevent infiltrations and terror activities there," Yildirim said in an interview on his plane as he campaigned for June 24 elections in eastern Turkey.
Accusing the PKK of carrying out "provocations and traps", and long-distance attacks, he said Turkey would "of course go further" if such actions continued. "We will show no hesitation here until these elements are neutralised," he said.
"Every option (on Qandil) is on the table," he added.
Turkey already carries out regular cross-border air strikes against the PKK in northern Iraq. On Friday, the military said warplanes had struck shelters and weapons stations in Qandil and other areas.
On Thursday night, President Tayyip Erdogan said if Iraq did not clear the region of PKK militants, Turkey would strike Qandil and the Sinjar area further west where it says the PKK is also concentrated.
 


Trump gives dramatic account of Soleimani’s last minutes before death: CNN

Updated 1 min 54 sec ago

Trump gives dramatic account of Soleimani’s last minutes before death: CNN

  • The president spoke at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, at a Republican event
  • CNN said it obtained an audio recording of Trump’s remarks

PALM BEACH, Florida: US President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the US drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The president spoke in a ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, at a Republican event that raised $10 million for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and for the Republican National Committee.
Reporters were not allowed in for the event. CNN said it obtained an audio recording of Trump’s remarks. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Jan. 3 killing of Soleimani at Baghdad airport prompted Iran to retaliate with missile strikes against US forces in Iraq days later and almost triggered a broad war between the two countries.
“They’re together sir,” Trump said military officials told him. “Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. ‘Two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. Thirty seconds. Ten, 9, 8 ...’ “
“Then all of a sudden, boom,” he said. “’They’re gone, sir. Cutting off.’“
“I said, where is this guy?” Trump continued. “That was the last I heard from him.”
It was the most detailed account that Trump has given of the drone strike, which has drawn criticism from some US lawmakers because neither the president nor his advisers have provided public information to back up their statements that Soleimani presented an “imminent” threat to Americans in the region.
CNN said that in the audio, Trump did not repeat that Soleimani was an imminent threat. Trump said Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing.