According to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Turkish forces are currently based dozens of kilometers inside northern Iraq and could push further to attack the Kurds in the Qandil Mountains. This is where the stronghold of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey, is reportedly located.
The prospect of a massive military operation emerged less than three months after the Afrin campaign, codenamed Olive Branch, was finalized, with Ankara announcing that the northern Syrian city is under the full control of Turkish troops.
Now Turkey is set to shift its attention to the PKK bases, essentially “to prevent infiltrations and terror activities there,” Yildirim stated. He went on to blast the PKK for carrying out “provocations and traps,” adding that Turkey will pursue further actions if the PKK persists in its operations.
“Every option (on Qandil) is on the table,” he added.
Yildirim notably reiterated what President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday night: the head of state had threatened, at the time, a strike on Qandil and the Sinjar area to the west if Iraq failed to clear the region of the PKK units.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi expressed determination to negotiate with Turkey, but he called on the country to respect Iraqi sovereignty, adding Turkey has had amilitary presence in northern Iraq for over 30 years.