Turkish Parliament ratifies motion to extend mandate for troops in Iraq and Syria

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
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The Turkish parliament ratified on Wednesday a motion to extend the state's authority to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for another year.

The motion, which was submitted by the Turkish cabinet, had previously allowed the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations from Oct. 31, 2017 until Oct. 30, 2018. It was last extended on Sept. 23, 2017.

The decree, renewed annually since 2014, allows Turkey to send troops over its southern border if developments in Iraq and Syria pose threat to Turkey's national security. It also allows foreign forces to use Turkish airbases and Turkish territory against the same threats.

The motion stated that Turkey attaches great importance to the protection of Iraq's territorial integrity, national unity and stability.

"However, the existence of the PKK and Daesh in Iraq, poses a direct threat to regional peace, stability and the security of our country," it added referring to terrorist groups in the region.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove the PKK's Syrian wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terrorists from Afrin. On March 18, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army liberated the Afrin district center.

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