“Leviathan Moves”: Turkey Launches New Operation In Iraq, Establishes Post In Syria

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Turkey’s numerous operations in northeastern Syria and Iraq have become infamous.

For every keen observer every successive operation is a chance to learn about some new, grand achievements of the Turkish Armed Forces.

Announced on April 24th, the most recent operation is called “Claw-Lightning” and it aims to completely end the presence of the terror threat aimed at Turkey’s southern border.

Regular troops and Special Forces were deployed in the region.

The Turkish military shared footage showing airstrikes on the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) positions, landing operations and improvised explosive devices left behind by Kurdish guerrilla fighters in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

According to the Turkish Defense Minister, 31 PKK members have been neutralized as of April 25.

Back in February is when Ankara carried out its Operation Claw-Eagle 2, in the same area, it neutralized 48 PKK members.

It was a resounding success.

Additionally, Turkey increased its activity in Syria.

In Greater Idlib, on April 24th, the Armed Forces established its 64th position in the region.

Turkish positions in Greater Idlib host thousands of troops as well as heavy weapons, including battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery, rocket launchers, surveillance systems, jammers and air-defense systems.

Initially, Turkey established 12 posts in Greater Idlib to monitor a de-escalation agreement with Russia in 2018.

Over the next two years, the number of posts grew dramatically, as the Syrian Arab Army and Russian support kept winning ground away from the “moderate opposition” in Greater Idlib.

The purpose of Ankara’s presence is not to specifically contain the Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the region such as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, but rather to act as a shield against adversaries.

Not too far from Idlib, in Qamishli, the Syrian Democratic Forces’ security wing – Asayish and the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) took part in a series of clashes initially inflamed by personal disputes.

At least 30 people were killed over several days, and many more were injured.

A ceasefire brokered by the Russian Military Police was reached on April 24th, but it was brief as reports of renewed clashes surfaced almost immediately.

Ilham al-Abdullah, a commander of Asayish said that the conflict in al-Qamishli won’t end until the NDF is removed from Tayy district.

This essentially means that the SDF refuses to recognize the pro-government forces as legitimate and attempts to push Damascus’ control away.

The situation in Al-Qamishli was another serious blow to the relations between Damascus and the SDF.

Despite sharing many common interests, the two sides are yet to reach a political settlement.

Nearby, Turkey and the factions that it backs are also hard at work on pushing Ankara’s interests forward, and some unity on that front could prove invaluable.

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