Is a joint op by Ankara, Baghdad, Irbil against PKK on the horizon?

Is a joint op by Ankara, Baghdad, Irbil against PKK on the horizon?
A member of the Kurdish internal security services known as Asayish stands guard as Syrian Kurds in the northeastern city of Qamishli protest against the Turkish occupation of the Kurdish Syrian city of Afrin, marking three years since Turkey and its Syrian proxies took control of the region in the northern Aleppo province. (AFP)
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Updated 23 January 2021

Is a joint op by Ankara, Baghdad, Irbil against PKK on the horizon?

Is a joint op by Ankara, Baghdad, Irbil against PKK on the horizon?
  • Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi’s recent visit to Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan sparks speculation

ANKARA: Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar’s recent visit to Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan has sparked speculation about an imminent joint military operation between Ankara, Baghdad and Irbil inside the Iraqi territory against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

On Friday, Turkey’s President Erdogan hinted at the looming operation against PKK in Iraq’s Sinjar, saying, “We can come suddenly one night,” using the same sentence he used during previous Syria offensives.
Ankara’s military action against the PKK in summertime both from air and ground was widely condemned by Baghdad because of the aerial bombardment of the border villages and the death of two senior Iraqi border officials. Both sides had to spend months on restoring good terms.  
Since the early 1990s, Turkey has conducted several cross-border operations against the PKK in northern Iraq after its military targets were hit from PKK’s Iraqi bases.
On Monday, Akar visited Baghdad and met Iraqi officials before heading to Irbil where he talked with Kurdish officials, including Kurdistan Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Tuesday.

HIGHLIGHT

On Friday, Erdogan hinted at the looming operation against PKK in Iraq’s Sinjar, saying, ‘We can come suddenly one night,’ using the same sentence he used during previous Syria offensives.

Ankara is aiming to conduct an extensive offensive in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar to target hideouts of the PKK, but this time on a tripartite basis rather than a go-it-alone one.
This issue was also raised during Akar’s meeting with Iraqi officials. Akar told Anadolu Agency that Baghdad pledged to remove the terrorists from Sinjar soon, while Turkey was also ready to assist it to do so if asked.
The Turkish defense chief also said they would maintain “mutual exchange of information and form suitable mechanisms to exchange information.”
He also thanked Irbil and Baghdad for their assumed disposition to exchange information on the PKK.
To secure its strategic interests, Turkey also intends to build more temporary military bases in northern Iraq in addition to the existing 10 in the region.
Yerevan Saeed, a Washington-based Middle Eastern affairs analyst, thinks that this could indicate preparations for massive military operations by Turkey in spring.
“At the moment, the weather and the topography are too treacherous for any successful military actions,” he told Arab News.
In the past, the PKK has often blamed the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for sharing intelligence reports with Ankara about the group’s location and moves in the region, although the KDP, which is opposed to the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq, has firmly denied these allegations.
The KRG faces a balancing act because on one hand it refuses Ankara’s request for joining forces against the PKK, while on the other it has concerns about any intra-Kurdish fighting in the region.
PKK-affiliated groups, namely the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) that fought Daesh in Sinjar in 2014, are still active in the area, especially around Mount Sinjar and its surrounding areas. Ankara has targeted YBS’s members several times in the past.
While the PKK is listed as a terrorist movement by Washington, the YBS is not.


Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya

Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya
Updated 2 min 17 sec ago

Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya

Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya

CAIRO: Turkey has summoned the Iranian ambassador over accusations by Tehran that Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty, Al Arabiya TV reported Sunday. 

[Developing] 


Tabreed weather-watching AI could cool homes from Dubai to Makkah

Tabreed weather-watching AI could cool homes from Dubai to Makkah
Updated 19 min 20 sec ago

Tabreed weather-watching AI could cool homes from Dubai to Makkah

Tabreed weather-watching AI could cool homes from Dubai to Makkah
  • It is one of four new pilot projects announced by Tabreed that will support its aim to boost plant efficiency and reduce operating costs

DUBAI: The UAE company that provides cooling to thousands of homes across the Gulf plans to use weather-watching technology to anticipate when demand will rise and fall.

It is one of four new pilot projects announced by Tabreed that will support its aim to boost plant efficiency and reduce operating costs, the company said in a bourse filing on Sunday.

Demand for district cooling varies widely from day to day depending on outside temperature, humidity, wind speed and other atmospheric factors.

The “Wet Bulb Forecasting” project aims to better forecast customer demand over the next 24 hours by analyzing some of these factors using artificial intelligence.

“Based on the simulation of this pilot project, we forecast a 25 to 30 percent increase in performance, compared to our industry benchmarks,” said François-Xavier Boul, Tabreed’s chief development officer.”

Gulf states including the UAE and Saudi Arabia are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint through the use of green technology and alternative energy sources.

Tabreed operates 86 district cooling plants around the region, including three in Saudi Arabia.

Among the developments it services are the world’s tallest building in Dubai and the Jabal Omar Development in Makkah.


Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark

Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark
Updated 17 min 17 sec ago

Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark

Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark

Iran's health ministry said the country's coronavirus fatalities broke the 60,000 mark on Sunday, as the Islamic republic battles the Middle East's worst outbreak of the illness.
"Sadly in the past 24 hours, 93 people lost their lives to Covid-19, and total deaths from this disease reached 60,073," health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said in a televised address.
Iran has registered a total of 1,631,169 infections, according to the ministry.


UK’s Sunak says vaccine passport idea might help the economy

UK’s Sunak says vaccine passport idea might help the economy
Updated 27 min 33 sec ago

UK’s Sunak says vaccine passport idea might help the economy

UK’s Sunak says vaccine passport idea might help the economy

LONDON: British finance minister Rishi Sunak said the idea of giving people vaccine passports or certificates to allow them to enter venues or events might be a way to help the country and its economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Obviously it is a complicated but potentially very relevant question for helping us reopen those parts of our country like mass events,” Sunak told BBC television on Sunday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that the government would hold a review to consider the scientific, moral, philosophical and ethical questions about using vaccine certificates for people who have received a coronavirus shot, which could help entertainment and hospitality venues reopen.


Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria

Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria
Updated 48 min 3 sec ago

Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria

Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria
  • Russian Defense Ministry said the helicopter was not fired at

AMMAN/MOSCOW: A Russian Mi-35 helicopter made an emergency landing due to technical problems during a flight over Syria’s northern Hasaka province, state agencies quoted Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying on Sunday.
“The crew was quickly evacuated to the airfield. There is no threat to lives of the pilots,” the RIA news agency cited a Defense Ministry statement as saying.
The helicopter was not fired at, it added.
Syrian state media said earlier there were reports of a Russian helicopter crash in northeast Syria that killed the pilot.
It said the site of the crash was in Hasaka province, near Tal Tamr close to a Russian base.