Kurdish rebels armed on Turkish-Iraq border
Jane’s Defense Weekly reported (sorry, no link) last month that the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK), the successor to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), has armed itself with man-portable surface-to-air (SAM) missiles along the Turkish-Iraqi border. The news, leaked by the Turkish military to the national press, underscores the Kurdish rebels’ concerns that Turkey may be planning an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan in conjunction with a U.S.-Iraq war.
According to the report, KADEK has acquired 70 to 80 Strela-2 missiles, and is looking to procure more. (These are labeled by NATO as the SA-7 “Grail”.) The arms are positioned in the Harkuk and Kandil mountains in northern Iraq, and the group is looking to further deploy the missiles in the Haftanin and Garadag mountains. KADEK is also reportedly seeking mines and other ordinance to be deployed along the border with Turkey’s Sirnak province. Fighters have been repositioned to the evacuated villages of Haftanin, Metine, Zap, Avasin-Basyan and Harkuk in Northern Iraq. These weapons would pose a serious threat to Turkish armed forces operating in the region.
The weapons, worth about $200,000, have been acquired from Armenia, Iran and Iraq in the last couple of months. Most of the arms are Russian made.