Turkey’s possible Qandil operation has thrust the U.S. front into panic. There are claims that once Qandil, the main base of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is cleared of terror elements, the group will relocate to Sinjar. The U.S. deployed 200 troops to Sinjar, which is being evaluated as a move to protect the PKK. This deployment was confirmed by the Sinjar District Governor.
There are claims that Special U.S. Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh Brett McGurk, who met with members of the terror group in June 2016, pointed to Afrin as an alternate to Qandil. Once the Afrin option was off the table as a result of Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch, Sinjar was presented as an alternative.
Northern Iraq’s Qandil Mountains have been a haven for PKK terrorists over the past few decades. Considered as the main base of the PKK, which control checkpoints and entrances to the mountains, the structuring in the area is used for cover and concealment by terrorists.
Attempt to protect the terror group
Washington’s actions are a step to take U.S. support of the PKK to the next level and openly protect the terror group, Retired Gen. Osman Yıldırım said, adding it was an attempt to establish a new main base at a strategic point.
The U.S. will allegedly deploy troops in the Mira Mountain and Baray border areas, despite claims that Iraqi central forces have control over the whole region.
Gen. Yıldırım stated that the Iraqi and Syrian governments signed a border security deal two days ago, and that the U.S. was settling into the region in line with the plan to control the Iraqi and Syrian borders and join terror corridors in northern Iraq and northern Syria.
Turkey could launch operation in Qandil
Turkey's deputy prime minister on Monday said that Turkey reserves the right to launch an operation where there is a threat to Turkey, mentioning the top base for the PKK terrorist group.
“Turkey could enter Qandil, anything could happen. Where there is a terrorist threat to Turkey, there is a target for Turkey. Both terrorists and all the resources of terrorism are the targets for Turkey,” Bozdağ said.
Bozdağ’s comments echoed Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s words earlier in the day. "Qandil is not a faraway target for us anymore. Our forces have secured crucial areas along the Qandil-Hakurk line. An operation against the PKK terror group in Mt. Qandil is a matter of time. I assure our nation that Qandil will be a secure place for Turkey soon," he said.
Turkey has carried out regular airstrikes since July 2015 on PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the terror group has its main base in the Mt. Qandil region near the Iranian border.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The PKK has been conducting armed violence in the southeastern part of Turkey since 1984. More than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the three-decade long conflict.