Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press.So far, the only confirmation we've got of the situation is via AP wire reporters. Other reports could not confirm that Turkish forces entered Iraq.
Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.
"It is not a major offensive and the number of troops is not in the tens of thousands," one of the officials told the AP by telephone. The official is based in southeast Turkey, where the military has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels since they took up arms in 1984.
The U.S. military said it could not confirm the reports but was "very concerned."
Turkey opposed the US invasion in 2003 and refused to allow the US to station the US 4th Infantry Division in Turkey so that it could invade Turkey from the North and link up with other coalition elements around Baghdad - encircling the Iraqi forces. That refusal meant that the US had to alter its invasion plans and meant that the 4th ID had to be deployed well after the conflict was well underway.
The Kurdish region in Iraq has been one of the most stable parts of the country and has been semi-autonomous since the 1991 Gulf War and subsequent no-fly zones enabled the Kurds to operate without fear of Saddam and the Ba'athists. They also operate their own militia, the peshmerga.
The White House and Turkish government both say that no new activity is going on in Northern Iraq. As opposed to old activities?