Arbil, Asharq Al-Awsat- A prominent Kurdish military official has stated that Turkey’s threats of an imminent ground offensive against the Kurdistan Region territories are “no more than statements promoted by the Turkish media.” He affirmed that, to his knowledge, neither the Kurdistan Region leadership nor the Iraqi Government has received a Turkish request for a new cross-border military operation inside the Kurdistan Region.
Meanwhile, a leading figure in the popular forces of the PKK asserted “the party fighters’ readiness to repulse any Turkish attack on the region’s territories.”
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Major General Jabbar Yawar, secretary general and official spokesman of the Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry, cast doubt on the Turkish Army’s ability to launch a ground offensive against the Kurdistan Region territories, saying that, “Turkish forces attacked the region’s territories more than 25 times and carried out many ground operations inside the region. Every time, however, they suffered huge losses and failed to achieve their main goal of minimizing the dangers that are posed by the opposition PKK.”
Major General Yawar added that: “On the other hand, winter is approaching in the region, and usually less military operations are carried out in this season because of the harsh climate in the mountains.”
He continued: “According to the information available to us, the Turkish Army has not yet made any military preparations that are necessary for ground offensives on the other side of the border. Therefore, the Turkish forces are highly unlikely to move toward the Kurdistan territories to launch the expected attacks.”
The Peshmerga spokesman emphasized that: “Any Turkish ground offensive should be preceded by specific measures, including a request for approval from the Iraqi side, because such operations would take place inside the territories of another state.”
He added: “In such a case, Turkey must sign a security agreement with Iraq that will allow it to push its army into the territories of Iraq. But the current circumstances in Iraq, in terms of the disagreements and clashes between Iraqi political groups, do not allow the Iraqi Government to sign an agreement in this respect, not even secret agreements behind the back of the Kurdistan Region’s leadership.”
He noted: “Even if we assume that the Iraqi Government would agree to assist Turkey to launch such ground offensives, this assistance would be ineffective and useless because Iraq has no military presence on the Kurdistan Region’s border with Turkey in the first place. Iraq will not be able to do anything. It will remain silent toward any Turkish incursion and will not file a complaint against Turkey. Any support to Turkey by the Iraqi Government in this regard will not have any effect on achieving the Turkish goals.”
For his part, Duzdar Hammu, official in charge of the popular forces command, military wing of the PKK, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The party’s leadership does not want to engage in a new military confrontation with Turkey and it always gave priority to political and democratic solutions to the issue of the Kurdish people in Turkey. However, if Turkey insists on war and on the continuation of its military operations, including possible ground offensives, our fighters will be completely ready to repulse a Turkish offensive. We are able to defend ourselves.”
Hammu said: “last week four Turkish military planes resumed their shelling of many border villages, including Linan, Kulit, Baskan, Shikhah Rash, Drau, Bizkamah, and Nowdaruk in the Sidkan District of the Kurdistan Region.”
He added: “The planes dropped leaflets calling on the residents to evacuate the area. Afterward, hundreds of Kurdish families fled their villages for fear of being targeted by Turkish aircraft.”
It is recalled that Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin previously made official statements to Turkish media in which he said that the cross-border operations might be carried out from the air or on land. He added that they would be carried out at any moment.