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Iraqi forces clearing way for Ovaköy border gate

Iraqi forces are clearing the path of the Ovaköy border gate, to be located on the Turkey-Iraq border, in order to bypass the existing Habur border gate

Ersin Çelik
11:52 - 19/10/2017 Thursday
Update: 12:09 - 19/10/2017 Thursday
Yeni Şafak
Iraqi security forces members advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq.
Iraqi security forces members advance in military vehicles in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Iraqi forces which captured Sinjar through Khanaqin and Diyala after taking full control of Kirkuk are clearing the route of the Ovaköy border gate. Ovaköy is an alternative to the Habur border gate, which is currently the only gate between Turkey and Iraq.

A joint force consisting of the Iraqi army, federal police and allied fighters from the Hashd al-Shaabi militia are advancing to the north by following the pipelines from Kirkuk to Turkey. The Iraqi forces are clearing the route of the Ovaköy border gate of the Peshmerga, which were present from Kirkuk and Mosul to the Turkey-Iraq border.

Barzani to be trapped

Iraqi forces have driven the Peshmerga out of disputed areas in response to Masoud Barzani’s puppet state initiative. When the operation targeting the north is completed, Barzani will only be in control of a small area just beyond Habur.

Also on the agenda is to open a route for trade, a pipeline and if necessary, push Barzani out of the remaining zone too. The steps taken within the operation have been conducted under the strategic cooperation of Turkey, Iran and Iraq.


Pipeline route

“The Iraqi army will travel from Sinjar to Tal Afar, and then to Silopi and Ovaköy. They will secure the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Turkish soldiers have been conducting military drills in Silopi, which is where the pipeline is on Turkish territory. The current operation aims to push Barzani back to his 1970 territory and ensure the security of the oil pipeline route in the short run,” said strategy expert Dr. Abdullah Manaz.

Turkish military ready to provide support

“The steps taken by the Iraqi army with Hashd al-Shaabi are not steps taken despite Turkey. On the contrary, these moves came as a result of an agreement with Turkey. If the local forces struggled and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) launched attacks, the Turkish Armed Forces would provide support. A month ago our energy minister made an announcement. He said that Turkey would sell all of Iraq’s oil. This announcement shows the results of the steps taken today and the final direction. They are going to head from Sinjar, to Silopi to Ovaköy. They will secure the oil pipeline and therefore the new trade route,” Dr. Manaz added.

Turkey as a pioneer

“The only viable route for Kirkuk’s petrol is the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline. When this line is secured, Turkey will open the new border gate, Ovaköy. The agreement with Turkey foresees this. When we look here, we see that the leading country is Turkey. The steps taken by Turkey and its pioneering position have shaped this region. In both Syria and Iraq, games have been spoiled and new balances are being established. The main target in these balances is territorial integrity,” Dr. Manaz said.

#Turkey
#Iraq
#Habur
#Ovaköy
#Peshmerga
#Masoud Barzani
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