Al-Monitor: Turkey mulls permanent military presence in northern Iraq

Security sources told the US Al-Monitor site that Turkey intends to maintain a permanent presence in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and confirmed the participation of Peshmerga Hewler in the attacks similar to the attacks launched by the two parties jointly.

Turkey’s Operation Claw northern Hakurk region has been going on for nearly a month.

More than 4,000 Turkish soldiers of two commando brigades and some special forces teams have joined the operation in which four Turkish soldiers have been killed.

The security source said Ankara plans to establish a small security zone at PKK-controlled Hakurk through this operation and with the active support of the Kurds of Erbil and approval of Baghdad.

Sources Al-Monitor consulted said in future phases of Operation Claw, the Turkish army and peshmerga forces may carry out joint military operations just like in 1997 .

They pointed out that Operation Claw was launched immediately after the Ankara visits of Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi at the end of May. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attended the inauguration ceremony of new KRG President Nechirvan Barzani.

It is obvious that Erbil fully supports Turkey’s Hakurk operation but Baghdad has remained silent.

But three important factors could make Ankara’s mission difficult. First there is the Turkish military's manpower problems, with its already overstretched commando and special forces units. Another question is how far Erbil’s Kurdish peshmerga will support Ankara’s demand for close cooperation and even joint operations against the PKK in the field. Finally, winter conditions will prevail after October.



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