Turkey’s parliament has approved an extension of the country’s mandate for military operations across the border in Syria and Iraq.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the parliamentary session with a lengthy speech, part of which focused on an invasion of northern Syria that started last month. The Turkish military, fighting alongside Syrian rebels, has seized villages along the border from ISIS and Kurdish militants.
Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) dominates parliament, which has repeatedly prolonged the 2014 military mandate.
Turkey has targeted both ISIS and Kurdish militants in northern Syria and says it now controls 900 square kilometers of Syrian territory.
In recent weeks, Turkey has focused its efforts on fighting ISIS. The US has said it opposes further operations against the Kurds, who are Washington’s main allies fighting Islamic State on the ground in Syria’s multi-sided war.
Anakra also carries out strikes against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Turkish troops stationed in Iraq are there for training, the government says, but its soldiers have also clashed with ISIS.
Baghdad has expressed concern over Turkey’s presence as its troops prepare to attack Mosul, the major Iraqi city ISIS controls.