Turkish security forces’ counterterrorism operations continue to eliminate the threat posed by PKK terrorists in and outside the country.
Turkish security forces have killed 320 terrorists in the ongoing Operation Claw-Tiger in northern Iraq, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said Saturday.
As part of the operation, launched in the Haftanin region on June 16, Turkish commandos carried out intensive search and screening activities backed by air support in northern Iraq, the ministry said in a statement.
The operation has progressed successfully as planned, it added.
Turkish forces seized and destroyed weapons, ammunition and other materials from 269 shelters and 53 caves in the Haftanin region.
These included 265 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), 11 mines, four mortars, 10 RPG-7 rocket launchers with 238 rounds, 125 hand grenades, a drone, 26 heavy weapons with 22,331 rounds of ammunition, 143 light weapons with 27,693 rounds of ammunition, eight AT-4 anti-tank missiles, 244 artillery and mortar rounds, four suits to hide from thermal cameras and six radios, according to the statement.
Turkey's Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle operations were launched in June to ensure the safety of the Turkish people and borders by eliminating the threat of the PKK and other terrorist groups that often use northern Iraq to plan cross-border attacks.
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 terrorist threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps are not taken, it would not shy away from targeting terrorist threats, particularly in Sinjar.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) 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.
At least 91 PKK/YPG terrorists were killed in Iraq and Syria over the last 10 days, Turkey's National Defense Ministry confirmed Sunday.
Turkish armed forces had killed 16 PKK/YPG terrorists in Iraq and Syria over the last 24 hours, the ministry said in a statement.
"Thus, in the last 10 days, 91 PKK/YPG terrorists have been neutralized," it added.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralize" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were either killed or captured.
Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terrorist operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of locals: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).
Since mid-July, Turkish security forces also killed at least 38 terrorists on Turkish soil as part of the country's Lightning anti-terror operations, a government official said Saturday.
During the group of nine Lightning anti-terror operations, Turkey also destroyed 63 caves and shelters belonging to terrorists, Interior Ministry spokesperson Ismail Çataklı told reporters.
Operation Lightning-1 Cudi, launched in the southeastern province of Şırnak on July 14, and its associated operations are meant to target terrorists believed to be hiding out in eastern and southeastern Turkey.
Çataklı also said that this August Turkey eliminated a total of 81 terrorists on Turkish soil during Lightning and separate operations, including several on the ministry's wanted list.
In August, Turkey carried out a total of 9,197 counterterrorism operations in rural areas and 840 in provincial areas, he said.
Most recently, at least six more terrorists were killed in Turkey's eastern province of Bitlis, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Sunday.
Soylu posted on Twitter that the Turkish gendarmerie killed six terrorists using an armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The terrorists' affiliation was not mentioned, but the PKK has been active in the region.
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.
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 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.