The National Intelligence Organization (MIT) carried out an operation in Iraq’s northern Makhmour camp against the PKK, which led to the arrest of two high-ranking members of the terrorist organization that have since been brought to Türkiye.
Security forces arrested Hatip Güney, code-named "Şahan/Cihan," as well as a Syrian named Aya Ahmet Süleyman, code-named "Tekoşin Kamışlı/Civan."
It was determined that Güney, who illegally crossed into Iran through the Başkale district of Van in September 2019 to join the rural staff of the PKK/KCK, went to Iraq and received training there.
It was determined that Güney, who was later sent to the Makhmour camp, was operating as a so-called team commander after ideological and armed training.
Süleyman, on the other hand, joined the PKK to serve in its affiliates in 2015. He went to Iraq from Syria in 2017, received training in Gara, carried out activities in the Avaşin-Basyan region and then went to Makhmour in 2018.
Turkish security forces in June killed the PKK terrorist group's so-called Makhmour regional leader in northern Iraq. Announcing the operation, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Türkiye would not allow the "treacherous and separatist organization" to use Iraq's Makhmour district as an "incubation center" for terrorism.
Turkish intelligence discovered that the camp was as important as Qandil for the PKK terrorists and that they were recruiting and training members for their activities under the guise of the camp. The Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq are the PKK's stronghold and the group is active in many cities and towns. It occupies a large number of villages in the region and launches attacks on Türkiye's interior from here.
The Makhmour camp was established by the United Nations and Iraq for refugees who were forced to leave Türkiye by the PKK in 1994. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the refugees "first stayed in Atroush camp near the Turkish border, then split into two groups in 1997. Between 4,000 and 5,000 refugees moved to local settlements in the governorate of Dahuk and Irbil. A larger group relocated to the Makhmour camp, which today looks like a small town with mud-brick houses and several shops selling food."
The people in the camp have been struggling to live while bowing down to the pressure of the terrorist group, which turned the region into its military headquarters. Control of Mosul's Makhmour district was taken by Peshmerga forces after the Daesh assaults. Today, 12,000 people live in the Makhmour camp awaiting the end of the pressure imposed by the outlawed PKK.
The PKK terrorist group often hides out in northern Iraq, just across Türkiye's southern border, to plot terrorist attacks in Türkiye. The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq. Türkiye 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 terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy away from targeting terrorist threats.