Three Turkish soldiers were killed and four others wounded in clashes with PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement Thursday.
The ministry highlighted the heavy blow the Turkish military has dealt to the terrorist group in northern Iraq's Gara region.
Lt. Burak Coşkun and Sgt. First Class Harun Turhan were killed by the terror group during Turkey’s cross-border Operation Claw-Eagle 2 in northern Iraq, the ministry added.
The statement added that the wounded soldiers were immediately hospitalized.
In a later statement, the ministry said one of the hospitalized soldiers succumbed to his injuries and extended its condolences to the family and loved ones of the fallen soldier.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also expressed his condolences for the death of the soldier in another statement.
In a statement on his Twitter account, Vice President Fuat Oktay expressed his condolences and wished a speedy recovery for the wounded.
"We are determined to destroy terrorism at its root," Oktay said.
Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop also expressed condolences for the fallen soldiers and wished a speedy recovery for the wounded.
The PKK managed to establish a foothold in Iraq, particularly in the Sinjar region in mid-2014 on the pretext of protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh terrorists. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established a new command base in Sinjar to carry out logistical activities.
Turkey has long been stressing that it will not tolerate threats posed to its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorists. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy away from targeting the group. Recently, Akar expressed that Turkey was prepared to provide assistance to Iraq in clearing terrorists from the region. Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has called the PKK's presence in Sinjar unacceptable and urged the militants to leave the area.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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