Turkey on Wednesday announced the start of a new phase in its domestic counterterrorism operations in the country's southeast.
Operation Eren-11 Sehi Forests has been launched in the eastern Bitlis and southeastern Siirt provinces with 781 personnel from the gendarmerie, police and village guards, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added that the ongoing Operation Eren is being carried out with determination.
The operation is named after Eren Bülbül, a 15-year-old killed by the PKK terrorist group on Aug. 11, 2017. The fresh operation aims to eliminate the separatist PKK terror group and clear the region of terrorists.
Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey, where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks in Turkey. Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also previously called the PKK's presence in Sinjar unacceptable and urged the militants to leave the area.
In northern Iraq, Turkey launched operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle in June to ensure the safety of the Turkish people and borders by eliminating the threat of the PKK and other terrorist groups.
PKK leadership is struggling to recruit both militants and higher ranks, according to reports. Additionally, many terrorists are reluctant to enter Turkey from Iraq to carry out attacks due to the high number of casualties. In a recent visit to Iraq, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the threat of the PKK must be eliminated through unity and solidarity to ensure border security and peace with its neighbors.
Most recently, Turkish fighter jets killed eight PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the National Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
The terrorists were detected through reconnaissance and surveillance and neutralized in the Gara region, the ministry said on Twitter.
"Operations will continue with determination," the ministry added.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including children.