In the last two days, Turkish security forces killed 22 terrorists of the PKK terrorist group's Syrian branch, the YPG, in northern Syria.
The terrorists were targeted while preparing to carry out attacks in the Operation Peace Spring and Euphrates Shield zones, the Defense Ministry said on Twitter on Sunday.
The terrorists attempted to infiltrate the counterterrorism operation zones and opened harassing fire in areas of Turkey's Peace Spring and Olive Branch operations. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) eliminated them, the ministry also said on Twitter on Saturday.
No matter what anyone says, Turkey is determined to root out terrorist organizations that threaten the security, peace and stability of the country and the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday.
The Turkish military carried out airstrikes targeting the PKK terrorist group's positions, including training camps, shelters and ammunition storage, in northern Iraq and parts of northern Syria, the Defense Ministry announced early Wednesday.
A Turkish Defense Ministry statement said the strikes hit targets in the Sinjar Mountains and in the Karacak region in northern Iraq, and the Derik region in northern Syria during a new aerial operation aimed to protect Turkey’s borders from terrorist threats.
Operation Winter Eagle targeted the PKK in northern Iraq and the YPG in Syria. The target locations included shelters, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots, bases and training camps, the ministry said.
The airstrikes are part of an ongoing Turkish campaign in Iraq and Syria against the PKK terrorists and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG. Turkish forces have carried out similar cross-border airstrikes in the past and routinely conduct military strikes against suspected PKK hideouts in the area.
Listed as a "terrorist" group by Turkey and its Western allies after a decadeslong insurgency against the Turkish state, the PKK has bases and training camps in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq and on the mountainous border with Turkey. The Sinjar Mountain range, home to Iraq's Yazidi minority, is an area controlled by different armed forces and armed groups where the PKK terrorists and their local allies operate.
Turkey also has a military presence in neighboring Syria, where it has seized swathes of territory in successive military operations since 2016.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful counterterrorism operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terrorism corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).
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 women and children.
Turkish security forces also killed at least 47 terrorists within the country in January, the country's deputy interior minister said Friday.