Report: Turkish commando units cross Iraqi border

A Turkish commando unit crossed the Iraqi border and was deployed in the Kurdish-controlled region, a Kurdish media report said yesterday.

Report: Turkish commando units cross Iraqi border
A Turkish commando unit crossed the Iraqi border and was deployed in the Kurdish-controlled region, a Kurdish media report said yesterday.

The 350-strong commando unit was deployed in the Sere Seve region of northern Iraq and is now in control of several strategic points, a report in PUKmedia said. The Internet portal is affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. There has been no confirmation of the report by Turkish officials. According to PUKmedia, the commando unit's move across the border came following intense shelling of the border area by Turkish forces. It said the shelling began on Saturday night, hours after the new Turkish Parliament was sworn in during a marathon session. The report said the move appeared to be a first step in a cross-border operation into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq by Turkish forces.

Turkey has long threatened to launch a cross-border operation to hit bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Speculation mounts that such an operation might take place soon given that parliamentary elections have been completed.Last week, analysts and officials said plans to launch a joint Turkish-US operation against the PKK camps in northern Iraq had collapsed after they were leaked to the press by certain senators that have reservations about such a move.Tens of thousands of troops have recently been deployed in a border region, but the military said it was a routine measure to prevent the infiltration of PKK terrorists across the Iraqi border.

PUKmedia said the regions of Zaho and Diyana near the border were subject to Turkish bombardment and claimed a Christian village in the area had been hit by at least 30 mortars. There was no report of casualties; however, and local residents were reported to be fleeing the region.Another mountainous region near the Iran-Iraq-Turkey border was also under bombardment, according to the report.

Meanwhile, a separate report in the US media claims that Rahman Haj-Ahmadi, head of the anti-Iranian Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK), who is believed to be linked to the PKK, has appealed for US political and military support for PEJAK's campaign to topple Iran's Islamic regime.In his first visit to Washington, Haj-Ahmadi, said that the Iranian regime faced a growing internal challenge to its power from the Kurds, Azerbaijanis and other restive minority groups, according to the article in The Washington Times. "We certainly would not take to the mountains and live such a difficult existence if the regime allowed us to pursue our struggle politically," Haj-Ahmadi, who spoke through an interpreter, was quoted as saying.

He also said that PEJAK has only limited contact with the US government, but he appealed to Washington to push Iran harder on its human rights record and said his party would welcome American military and financial aid to carry on its fight, according to the article, re-cycled at http://wpherald.com. "We obviously cannot topple the government with the ammunition and the weapons we have now. Any financial or military help that would speed the path to a true Iranian democracy, we would very much welcome, particularly from the United States," he was quoted as adding.

Noting that the PKK is officially designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department, the article also gave place to remarks by Chris Zambelis, a terrorism analyst with the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, who said there are multiple reports of operational and logistical links between the PKK and PEJAK. Last month, in remarks to Today's Zaman, US Embassy Press Attaché Kathryn Schalow stressed that Washington considered both the PKK and its offshoot PEJAK to be terrorist organizations, saying the US would not become involved in any kind of contact or relationship with terrorists.

Today's Zaman
Last Mod: 06 Ağustos 2007, 12:27
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