Turkey had begun operations in Iraq’s Sinjar region: Tayyip Erdogan

Vastavam web: President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey had begun operations in Iraq’s Sinjar region, an area where it has threatened a military incursion, two days after sources said Kurdish PKK militants would withdraw from the area.“We said we would go into Sinjar. Now operations have begun there. The fight is internal and external,” Erdogan told a crowd in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, without elaborating on what operations he was referring to.

“The operations command confirmed that the situation in Nineveh, Sinjar and the border areas was under the control of Iraqi security forces and there is no reason for troops to cross the Iraqi border into those areas,” it said in a statement.Sources in northern Iraq said on Friday the PKK would withdraw from Sinjar, where it gained a foothold in 2014 after coming to the aid of the Yazidi minority community, who were under attack by Islamic State militants.

Turkish troops and their rebel allies swept into northwest Syria’s Afrin town this month, the culmination of an eight-week campaign to drive Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters from the region. Turkey sees the YPG as terrorists and an extension of the outlawed PKK.Erdogan has vowed to extend the military operation along the Syrian border and on Sunday said the Turkish-led forces would take control of the town of Tel Rifaat.Many civilians and YPG have gathered in and around Tel Rifaat after Turkey seized control of Afrin. It is a Kurdish-controlled enclave, cut off from a larger expanse of Kurdish territory in the northeast of Syria.