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Turkish MPs Extend Mandate for Troops in Iraq, Syria by 1 Year - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkey’s parliament on Saturday overwhelmingly approved a one-year extension of an existing mandate for cross-border military operations into Syria and Iraq.

The mandate was first approved by parliament in October 2014 and was renewed for another year in September 2015.

It allows military action in Turkey’s two southern neighbors against ISIS jihadists and other groups deemed by Ankara to be terror organizations.

The resolution was the first and only item on the parliament’s agenda on the first day of the new legislative year.

Using the existing mandate, Turkey on August 24 launched an unprecedented operation inside Syria dubbed Euphrates Shield to back pro-Ankara rebels fighting ISIS jihadists and a Kurdish militia.

Ankara is also believed to have an unspecified number of troops in the Bashiqa camp outside ISIS-controlled Mosul in northern Iraq involved in training Iraqi fighters who plan to recapture the city.

The bill passed easily with support from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), secular opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Only the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voted against.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, the new mandate will run until October 30, 2017.

In his speech marking the opening of parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the initial goal of the Syria operation was to create a “safe area free of terror organizations”.

Erdogan hailed the results of the operation in the Syrian town of Jarablus, saying its population had expanded from 2,000 to 40,000 since being captured from ISIS jihadists.

As well as targeting the jihadists, the operation is also aimed against Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia which Ankara regards as a terror group.