Turks push troops into Kurdistan

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The Independent Online
Thousands of Turkish commandos backed by armour pushed into Kurdish- held northern Iraq yesterday, witnesses said. The Turks said the soldiers had gone to set up camps at Kurdish towns for potential refugees from any conflict between Washington and Baghdad.

The Defence Minister, Ismet Sezgin, said the government had studied the possibility of a security zone in northern Iraq to prevent refugees flooding to Turkey's border. "If there were such an operation it would be on humanitarian grounds, to prevent a repeat of the events of 1991." A million Iraqi Kurds stampeded to Iran and Turkey after a failed Kurdish uprising against Baghdad following the 1991 Gulf war. That influx prompted the US-led Western allies to carve out a "safe haven" in the north to keep Kurds out of Iraqi government control. - Reuters, Diyarbakir