Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Iraq update

The Iraqi Government demanded today that Turkey withdraw its army from Iraq's
snowbound northern mountains.
Let's hope the Turks get out soon. They're only exacerbating the situation in Iraq.
Confirmation of exactly what the Turkish troops are doing in Iraq is difficult
because the combat zone is a remote, mountainous area, much of it still covered
in deep snow.
And now, a snippet of death and destruction.
Firat, a pro-Kurdish news agency, said that Iraqi Kurd peshmergas had found the
bodies of three Turkish soldiers who died of exposure during combat operations
on Sunday, and turned them over to the Turkish military. This afternoon the
Turkish army reported the deaths of two soldiers.
Firat also said that PKK
guerrillas in winter camouflage had shot down a Turkish helicopter at the
weekend, taking up positions under cover of darkness and waiting hours on the
snowbound hillside to target the aircraft as several helicopters were flying
low. It said the Turkish military stopped operations in the area for a while,
and guerrillas were able to return to their bases without suffering any losses.
Turkey has acknowledged that a helicopter crashed in Iraq, and said that an
investigation was under way. Two pilots were killed.
The Turkish military
has reported the deaths of 17 military personnel and more than 150 rebels, while
the PKK claims that only a few rebels and 81 soldiers have died. Neither report
can be confirmed.
The PKK is fighting for autonomy in predominantly Kurdish
southeastern Turkey, where the Turkish authorities have suppressed Kurdish
culture. It has carried out attacks in Turkey from bases inside northern Iraq.
The conflict started in 1984 and has killed up to 40,000 people.

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