Turkey’s domestic and cross-border counterterrorism operations targeting YPG/PKK terrorists, including senior figures, continue to deal a heavy blow to the terror group.
In the operations conducted within Turkey and abroad during the month of June, Turkish security forces killed at least 86 YPG/PKK terrorists.
Counterterrorism operations between June 1-30 were jointly carried out by the National Intelligence Organization, Turkish Armed Forces, gendarmerie and police in eastern and southeastern Turkey and abroad.
As many as 370 terror suspects were arrested in Turkish cities, with 107 of them later remaining in custody. A total of 13 terrorists surrendered to Turkish security forces during the month.
İzzet Yiğit, who killed 16 people in a 2016 bomb attack in the village of Durumlu in the Diyarbakır province, was among those killed, as announced by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on June 11.
Seven people, including one member of the security forces, were killed and eight people wounded in the month of June.
Six civilians lost their lives and eight others were injured in the terror group's attacks on civilians, while a soldier was killed in Operation Claw-Tiger.
Operation Claw-Tiger was launched a few days after Operation Claw-Eagle, which was launched in order to ensure the security of the Turkish people and the country's borders by eliminating the PKK and other terrorist organizations that have been stepping up their harassment and attack attempts against the police and military bases.
The PKK terrorist group managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar in mid-2014, on the pretext that it was protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established a new base in Sinjar for its logistical and command-and-control activities.
Turkey has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terror threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps are not taken, it would not shy away from targeting terror threats, particularly in Sinjar.
The Turkish Armed Forces regularly conduct 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 Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) also previously called the PKK's presence in Sinjar unacceptable and urged the militants to leave the area.
Most recently, Turkish security forces killed at least five PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
Weapons, ammunition and explosives were also seized as part of Operation Claw-Tiger, the ministry said on Twitter.
Two PKK terrorists were also targeted in an air operation in northern Iraq's Avasin region, it added.
"Our operations will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized," it said, posting footage of the operation.
Senior figures targeted
During the operations, senior terrorist figures in the state’s most-wanted list have also been eliminated.
Sabri Dal, a senior PKK terrorist wanted by Interpol, was caught in a joint operation by Turkish security and intelligence units in the Silopi district of the southeastern Şırnak province on June 19.
Zilan Demir, code-named Zana Mardin, who was identified as a "miner and bomber" for the terror group, was caught in the southeastern Mardin province in late June.
A so-called senior terrorist identified only by his initials, R.Y., surrendered to security forces in the Hakkari province.
He was in the orange category of Turkey's list of wanted terrorists, which is divided into five color-coded categories, with red as the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray.
Tarık Kar, code-named Heba Rodi, was caught and remanded in custody in June. There was a reward of TL 1 million (over $147,000) for his arrest.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
Terror attack kills 1 in Afrin
In addition to its presence and activities in Turkey and northern Iraq, the PKK’s Syrian branch YPG also threatens the lives of civilians in northern Syria.
A person was killed and another injured on Sunday when a bomb-laden vehicle exploded in the district center of Afrin, northern Syria, according to security sources.
Security sources assert that the YPG/PKK carries out bomb attacks in the region cleared of terrorists.
On Friday, a police officer was killed and two civilians injured in a roadside bombing by terrorists in Afrin.
In January 2018, Turkey launched a major military offensive – Operation Olive Branch – with the stated aim of purging Afrin of YPG/PKK terrorist elements. Afrin was liberated on March 18, 2018.
The terror group, which still occupies Tal Rifaat and Manbij districts of Syria, often targets al-Bab, Azaz, Jarablus and Afrin.