The Iraqi anti-terror Kata'ib Hezbollah group, which is part of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi, has denounced the recent Turkish military strikes on the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, calling on the Ankara government to withdraw its forces from the Arab country before it gets "too late."
Kata'ib Hezbollah, in a statement released on Saturday, demanded that Turkish authorities stop repeated violations of Iraq’s sovereignty and deadly raids on ordinary people and fully withdraw Turkish forces from Iraqi soil.
“Our patience has reached its limit. Disregard for the loss of our compatriots’ lives and violations of the state sovereignty were the last straw,” the statement read.
“The Iraqi nation, which dispelled the myth about US forces as the world’s most powerful military and subjected them to humiliation, can demean you as well. Therefore, you are recommended to pull out your troops before it is too late,” Kata'ib Hezbollah warned Ankara.
Earlier, the secretary general of Iraq's Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq movement said resistance fighters will give an adequate response to the latest Turkish military aggression on the Arab country.
Qais al-Khazali, in a tweet published on his Twitter page, condemned Turkey's repeated violations of Iraqi sovereignty, warning that the Ankara government “is going too far with targeting civilians."
“Amid the government’s deplorable silence, flagrant violations of the Iraqi sovereignty continue by Turkish occupation forces, after they established military bases in northern Iraq. The situation has exacerbated and ordinary citizens are now being targeted under flimsy claims and pretexts,” Qazali wrote.
Sirwan Barzani, a commander of Kurdish Peshmerga forces, told Rudaw televiaion news network that Turkish airstrikes targeted the surroundings of Makhmour refugee camp and a base belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group in Mount Qarachogh on February 1, causing casualties and material damage.
Iraq's Security Media Cell, in a statement, called for a halt to Turkish attacks on Iraqi territories, saying, “Iraq is fully prepared for bilateral cooperation and to control the security situation on common borders” with Turkey.
The Turkish Defense Ministry later confirmed the attack, adding that it marked the launch of Operation Winter Eagle against the positions of PKK and the so-called People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Iraq and Syria.
Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.