Who fired rockets targeting a Turkish base in Iraq? - analysis

The attack targeting the Turkish base near Bashiqa is not the first, as it was targeted in December 2021 and also January 2022, with reports staying that there was also an attack in November 2021.

 Missiles of the kind used during Iran's retaliatory strike on the U.S Ayn al-Asad military base in 2020 are seen on display at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla in Tehran, Iran January 7, 2022. (photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)
Missiles of the kind used during Iran's retaliatory strike on the U.S Ayn al-Asad military base in 2020 are seen on display at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla in Tehran, Iran January 7, 2022.
(photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

A total of five rockets were fired at a Turkish base in northern Iraq on Tuesday last week,  according to Kurdistan24, a media outlet in the autonomous Kurdish region.

“Two of the five rockets landed inside the military base in Zilkan town in Nineveh province’s Bashiqa. The rest fell on Bashiqa Mountain, according to a statement from the Kurdistan Counter-Terrorism Group,” the report said. 

This is important because it appears to be part of an uptick of pro-Iranian militias using rockets to target both the US in the Kurdistan region, as well as Turkey. Iran fired ballistic missiles at Erbil on March 12, and they landed near the site of a new US consulate. Later, Iran claimed it was targeting a “Mossad” facility and further reports even claimed this was related to energy ties between the Kurdish region and Turkey.  

The attack targeting the Turkish base near Bashiqa is not the first, as it was targeted in December 2021 and also January 2022, with reports staying that there was also an attack in November 2021. This means that there are increasing attacks on Turkish forces in Iraq.

Turkey has established bases in Iraq to fight what it claims are “terrorists.” Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have increasingly opposed Turkey’s role in Iraq and it’s unclear if the rocket attack is a message or if the rockets were intended to kill. There were no casualties as a result of Tuesday's missiles, reports said.

A BUILDING in Erbil, Iraq damaged in missile attacks earlier this month. (credit: AZAD LASHKARI/REUTERS)A BUILDING in Erbil, Iraq damaged in missile attacks earlier this month. (credit: AZAD LASHKARI/REUTERS)

Kurdistan24 notes that “in early February, nearly 18 rockets were fired at the camp after a Turkish airstrike on the Yezidi-majority town of Sinjar. Iraqi militia forces with close ties to Iran have previously declared their opposition to Turkey’s military presence in Iraq, regularly calling on Ankara to withdraw and threatening attacks against Turkish troops.” 

It's not clear if the attacks will increase or if Turkey will ever respond. Turkey and Iran have had decent relations over the last years, and they are both part of Russian-backed discussions regarding Syria. However, Turkey has also sought to pivot in its foreign relations in recent years. Iran likes to use proxy groups in places like Iraq to attack other countries, and has used Iraqi-based militias to target Saudi Arabia and Israel.