Turkish parliament extends Syria, Iraq missions by two years

A Turkish soldier walks next to a Turkish military vehicle during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Turkey’s parliament extended the military’s mandate to launch cross-border operations in Iraq and Syrian by two more years.

The motion was first approved in 2013 to support the international campaign against Islamic State (ISIS) militants, and has since been renewed.

This marked the first time that the motion was extended by two years, giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a longer mandate to pursue campaigns against Kurdish fighters in both countries.

Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkey’s main opposition, voted against the measure.

“You don’t tell us what it’s about. You say [it will be valid] for two years and tell us do vote for it. Why?” CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu asked Erdogan in an address to his party members in parliament, according to AFP.

The opposition party voted against the deployment of Turkish forces in Iraq in 2003, but had otherwise backed Erdogan in his various international campaigns.

“The risks and threats to national security posed by ongoing conflicts in regions near Turkey’s southern border are continuing to increase,” the motion presented to parliament by Erdogan’s ruling AKP says.

Early this month, Erdogan said Turkey was preparing to step up operations in Syria. Ankara accused the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces of attacking the Turkish soldiers in northern Syria.

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