Turkey May Launch Ground Strikes Against Kurdish Rebels in Iraq

Posted September 13th, 2011 at 6:57 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Turkey says it is considering a cross-border ground offensive against Kurdish rebels operating in northern Iraq.

Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said Tuesday that discussions with Iraq are underway regarding a land operation against the rebels, saying an offensive could be launched at “any time.”

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, has escalated attacks in recent weeks. On Sunday, Kurdish rebels attacked multiple police facilities in southeastern Turkey, killing at least five people.

Meanwhile, Turkish forces have already increased their airstrikes against suspected rebel bases in northern Iraq. Last month, Turkey's military said it killed as many as 160 Kurdish rebels in air and artillery strikes across the border.

The attacks were the first in more than a year against suspected rebel positions. The last major incursion into Iraq was in 2008, when Turkey sent thousands of troops into northern Iraq, backed by air power.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara's “patience is running out” with the rebels, who have waged a campaign for autonomy in the country's largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.