Barzani says Kurds will fight back against Turkish troops

Other News Materials 23 February 2008 19:48 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The President of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan Massoud Barzani said Kurds would fight back Turkish troops if military operations along the Iraq-Turkish borders extended to reach Kurdish inhabitants, a spokesman for the Kurdish region's government said Saturday.

"After evaluating the situation, we confirm that the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan is not a part of the fighting between the Turks and the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK)," Barzani told reporters after meeting with leaders of the city of Dohuk on Friday.

He said, "if the clashes harmed any of the Kurdish citizens or further reached Kurdish inhabited areas, Kurds are instructed and prepared to counter attack."

The real intention behind the Turkish action in northern Iraq was to target the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, not the PKK, the spokesman said.

He explained that destroying the infrastructure of the mountainous region was not related to fighting the PKK and was strong evidence of the Kurds being targeted.

On Friday, Turkish troops crossed into Iraq in an attempt to destroy Kurdish rebel bases in the mountainous region. Turkish television reported that 10,000 troops had been involved.

Turkey has carried out regular cross-border airstrikes and small- scale operations targeting positions of PKK rebels.