Turkey is planning to establish a 30-kilometer-deep corridor that is cleared of all terror elements extending from northern Syria all the way toward the Iranian borders, as operations targeting terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq continue to deal large blows to the terror group.
Manbij is set to be the first step in establishing the “safe corridor” that extends from Idlib- Jarabulus- Bab and Azaz, and will encompass eastern Euphrates regions in Syria at a depth of 30- 40 kilometers along Turkey’s southern borders, until it converges with the safe zones created in northern Iraq.
A large blow to PKK terror
Since March 2018, an operation named after a martyred soldier, Specialist Sergeant Gökhan Kurak, is ongoing in Turkish Iraq borders to maintain border security.
During the operation, armed unmanned air vehicles, air and ground forces are being used to eliminate terrorists and destroy their hideouts.
The military has also ensured influence over an area of 30 kilometers inside Iraq’s territory, which is considered as the “First step toward Qandil.”
The second phase is a Qandil operation to be carried out in cooperation with Iraq and Iran.
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.
Work is underway to establish military bases in the regions cleared of PKK terror in order to ensure lasting peace and security in the area, and provide communication with regions where bases had already been established.
Turkish airstrikes killed six PKK terrorists and destroyed 16 targets in northern Iraq, the General Staff said Wednesday.
According to a General Staff statement, the airstrikes include terror camps regions of northern Iraq such as Hakurk, Gara, Metina, Zap, Qandil, and Avaşin Basyan, among others.
Currently, two Turkish army brigades are taking part in the operations carried out in northern Iraq, in addition to the brigades in Turkey’s southern provinces, Hakkari and Şırnak, which carried out highly-effective campaigns.
At the breaking point
Turkey’s domestically-produced recon and combat drones played a large part in the successful blow dealt to the terror organization in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, which resulted in disrupting 80 percent of the PKK’s logistical resources following ongoing operations in the region.
The operations also helped bring the participation and support of the PKK among local population to a breaking point and helped minimize the terror group’s financial sources, which it obtains through exerting tolls on the region’s impoverished population.
Operations also helped dry the terror group’s drug trade, which is a main source of income for the PKK.
A large blow was also dealt after a large number of high-ranking PKK terrorists were neutralized as a result of the ongoing operations, disrupting and weakening the group’s ability to reproduce a leadership structure.
Qandil is within reach
Turkey's interior minister on Wednesday said an anti-terror operation in northern Iraq's mountainous Qandil region is not a distant target for Turkey.
In an interview to Turkish channel NTV Süleyman Soylu said: "Diyarbakır is not free as long as Qandil stands there," referring to a possible PKK terrorist attack.
He said that Turkish forces were forming a line some 27 kilometers from the border in northern Iraq.
Soylu also noted that Turkey has a very high level of technological capability, human resources, unmanned aerial vehicles and intelligence to carry out the operation.
"Turkey now with its capacity can launch an operation wherever and whenever it wants," Soylu added.
Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the terror group has its main base in the Mt. Qandil region, near the Iranian border, have been carried out regularly since July 2015, when the PKK resumed its armed campaign.