Turkish military base in northern Iraq comes under attack

Presence of Turkish troops at the Zlikan base has been cause of tensions between Iraq and Turkey

SIRNAK, TURKEY - MAY 04: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "TURKISH NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTRY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) A view from the operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim at northern Iraq's Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions located near Sirnak, Turkey on May 04, 2021. Turkey launched Operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim on April 23 in northern Iraqâs Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions near its borders. (Photo by Turkish National Defense Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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A military base that hosts Turkish troops in the Iraqi district of Bashiqa, north-east of Mosul, has been attacked.

Several rockets and drones were used to hit the Zlikan base in the northern Nineveh province, the Kurdish Rudaw network reported, quoting a security source. No casualties have been reported yet.

The presence of Turkish troops at the base has caused tensions between Iraq and Turkey, which justifies its presence in the region on its fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which is outlawed by Ankara.

Turkey has maintained several outposts in northern Iraq since 2016 and in April Ankara began one of its largest military operations in northern Iraq against the PKK, Operation Claw-Lock.

In addition to the PKK, several Iran-backed groups in Iraq strongly oppose the presence of Turkish troops and have launched rocket and drone attacks.

Those attacks have followed public threats by groups in Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces, an umbrella group of militias ostensibly under federal government control, but that are largely tied to Iran.

The Iraqi government has condemned PMF attacks on Turkish forces in northern areas, but has limited control on PMF units. An Iraqi citizen was killed in an attack on May 22.

The latest strike comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the military would soon “clear” what he called terrorists from the northern Syrian towns of Manbij and Tel Rifaat.

It was a reference to Syria’s main Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

Mr Erdogan has been speaking about a new incursion for weeks without saying when such an offensive would start.

Turkey has launched four major operations in northern Syria since 2016, mainly against the YPG. Ankara considers the PKK and YPG as one and the same.

Updated: June 02, 2022, 2:24 PM
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