Turkey to Extend Iraq, Syria Incursions

Turkey to Extend Iraq, Syria IncursionsTurkey to Extend Iraq, Syria Incursions

Turkey’s government is seeking to extend for one more year a parliamentary mandate that allows the military to combat Islamist State militants and Kurdish forces in neighboring Syria and Iraq, a Foreign Ministry official said on Friday.

The current mandate under which the Turkish armed forces launched airstrikes in Iraq and Syria expires on October 2, the official said on condition of anonymity, AFP reported.

“The process to extend it has started,” the official said, adding that the document was sent to the parliament speaker’s office, having been signed by the Cabinet. It now needs to be approved by parliament.

The mandate allows the use of the armed forces in Syria and Iraq as well as for foreign forces to transit Turkish territory in operations against IS militants.

The mandate allowed the Turkish Army to make a land incursion deep into Syria for the first time in late February to relocate a historical tomb.

The terms of the mandate also permit US air forces to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to make airstrikes against IS positions.

On July 24, Ankara launched its first airstrikes against IS in Syria and then also began attacking targets of Kurdistan Workers’ Party in northern Iraq, in a dual “war on terror,” although the bombardments so far have been largely concentrated on PKK positions.