Turkey

Turkish cross-border, peacekeeping missions up for extension

Motion submitted to extend mandate for Iraq, Syria anti-terror operations for 2 years, peacekeeping in Lebanon for 1 year

Sinan Uslu   | 20.10.2021
Turkish cross-border, peacekeeping missions up for extension

ANKARA

Turkey’s parliament is due to consider a motion submitted on Wednesday extending the authorization to launch cross-border anti-terrorist operations in northern Iraq and Syria, as well as deploy peacekeeping troops to Lebanon.

The motion, referred to parliament by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would allow the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations in northern Iraq and Syria for two more years, from Oct. 30, 2021, until Oct. 30, 2023.

The motion stated that the risks and threats posed by ongoing conflicts near Turkey's southern land borders "continue increasingly."

Underlining that Turkey places great importance on protecting Iraq's territorial integrity, national unity, and stability, the motion said: "However, the existence of (terrorist groups) PKK and Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq poses a direct threat to regional peace, stability, and the security of our country,"

The motion also draws attention to the activities of the PKK/YPG terrorist group in Syria, adding that Turkey had taken necessary measures in line with its "legitimate national security interests" to preserve the "peace and stability established in Turkey's operation areas."

It also pointed to the situation in Idlib province, the last remaining opposition stronghold in Syria, saying that the peace and stability established via the Astana process continued to be under threat.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq, just across the Turkish border, to plot attacks in Turkey. Turkey says it uses its rights under international law to pursue these terrorists at their hideouts.

Daesh/ISIS terrorists have carried out multiple attacks against Turkey, including at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bombings, and four armed attacks, which killed 315 people and injured hundreds of others.

In response, Turkey launched military and police operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.

Since 2016, several Turkish cross-border operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.


Lebanon

Under the motion, Turkish lawmakers will also discuss whether to extend the deployment of troops in Lebanon for another year as part of a UN interim force.

The term of Turkish soldiers in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, also known as UNIFIL, would be extended until Oct. 30, 2022.

The motion has been extended 14 times so far since it was first approved by parliament in September 2006.

UNIFIL was established in 1978 when Israel withdrew from Lebanon. The peacekeeping force is intended to provide security and help the Lebanese government in rebuilding its authority.

A total of 10,144 troops from 46 countries are part of the UNIFIL mission.​​​​​​​

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