Thursday, 18 June, 2020 , 19:56Istanbul, June 18, 2020 (AFP) — Turkey, whose special forces have been targeting Kurdish rebel hideouts in Iraq, has already carried out several large-scale operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and allied militias in Iraq and Syria.
– Iraq –
The Turkish army has launched several major operations in the mountainous northern region of Iraq against bases of the PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 during which more than 40,000 people have been killed.
In October 1992 Turkey entered northern Iraq for the first time, mounting a vast air and land operation against PKK bases there.
From March to May 1995 a Turkish incursion along 220 kilometres (136 miles) of the Iraq border involved 35,000 troops.
In July 1999 about 10,000 Turkish soldiers crossed the Iraqi border and with Iraqi allies sought to oust Kurdish separatists.
In October 2011 another large-scale operation was launched against Kurdish rebel camps after Turkish soldiers were killed at the Turkey-Iraq border.
The Turkish air force also regularly bombs PKK bases in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
– Syria –
Since 2016 Turkey has launched three military operations in northern Syria where many Kurds live, aimed at fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which it considers a “terrorist” offshoot of the PKK.
From August 2016 to March 2017 it carried out an operation against the jihadist Islamic State and the YPG, which allowed it to create a buffer between Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria.
A second offensive, from January to March 2018, exclusively targeted the YPG and ousted them from their enclave of Afrin.
According to the UN, half of the enclave’s 320,000 inhabitants fled during the offensive.
In October 2019, Turkey launched a broad air and ground assault on the Kurds made possible by the withdrawal of US troops, retaking control of a 30-kilometre-wide strip of the border.
Ankara halted its operation after having concluded two accords with Washington and Moscow providing for the withdrawal of the YPG from most of their border positions.
The operation left hundreds dead and displaced tens of thousands of people.