Iraq summons Turkish ambassador in protest of continuing offensive in northern Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-18 20:29:44|Editor: huaxia

BAGHDAD, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned Turkish ambassador to Baghdad for the second time in two days to hand him a letter of protest over the ongoing attacks on positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

A statement by the ministry said that Iraq "condemns in strongest terms the continuation of violating Iraq's sovereignty by the Turkish forces on June 17 through bombing and attacking positions (in territories) within our international borders."

The letter called on Turkey to stop such "provocative acts and rejected violations," the statement said.

The letter also demanded Turkey to withdraw its forces from the Iraqi territories, which the Turkish forces entered on Wednesday, as well as its former presence in a military camp in Bashiqa area, some 30 km northeast of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul.

Iraq "retains its legitimate rights to take all measures that will protect its sovereignty and the safety of its people, including demanding the UN Security Council and the regional and international organizations to assume their responsibility," it added.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Foreign Ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad and handed him a letter of protest over airstrikes on PKK positions in northern Iraq.

On Monday, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command condemned in a statement a series of airstrikes conducted by 18 Turkish warplanes late on Sunday night on refugee camps in Sinjar, some 100 km west of Mosul, and Makhmour, about 60 km southeast of Mosul.

However, the Turkish forces developed its offensive in northern Iraq on Wednesday. Turkish artillery and aircraft bombardment on border areas of Zakho, Haftanin and nearby villages forced the residents of ten villages to leave their homes for safer areas.

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Defense Ministry announced the launch of a new operation dubbed "Operation Tiger-Claw."

The Turkish special forces conducted an airborne operation on the area of Haftanin in the Iraqi Duhok province to combat PKK elements. The commandos were supported by helicopters and drones, said a Turkish statement.

Turkish forces frequently carry out ground operations, airstrikes and artillery bombardments against the positions of the PKK militants in northern Iraq, especially the Qandil Mountains, the main base of the PKK.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.