Turkish troops destroyed five bridges on the Avashin or Blue River in an incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan to hunt PKK rebel fighters, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Feb. 22. “We don’t expect that a large incursion is taking place, as it’s a remote and inhospitable region,” Zebari said, estimating that “hundreds, rather than thousands” of Turkish troops were involved in the operation. Earlier, Ankara announced a “limited operation” into Iraqi territory. (AFP, Feb. 23) The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, issued a statement warning that if Turkish forces target civilians or damage any civilian infrastructure they will face large-scale resistance. (VOA, Feb. 23)
Germany warned Turkey of the “risk of destabilization,” and said it must act within international law. German government spokesman Martine Jaeger said that Berlin was watching developments with “a great deal of anxiety.” (AFP, Feb. 23)
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