Turkish security forces have eliminated 137 members of the PKK and YPG, its Syrian offshoot, throughout July within the scope of internal and cross-border counterterrorism operations.
According to data compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA), 137 terrorists were killed in operations conducted by the police, gendarmerie forces, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).
The 186 suspects were taken into custody as a result of operations targeting the PKK and its youth formation in several provinces. Forty arrests were made.
The number of terrorists surrendering to security forces this year increased to 114 as of July 28.
In addition, Turkey nabbed a wanted PKK terrorist who had been planning to flee to Europe in a cross-border operation carried out by MIT. The terrorist, identified as Cimşit Demir code-named "Piro Karker,” who was sought Interpol with Red Notice, was caught in northern Iraq. It was determined that Demir was carrying out the PKK’s activities in northern Iraq’s Hakurk, Gara and Qandil after joining the organization in 2009 in Ağrı province.
Turkey also recently carried out an air operation on PKK targets in northern Iraq. Close to 40 targets, consisting of caves, shelters, ammunition depots and the so-called headquarters of terrorists, were destroyed in the operation.
Most recently, the Defense Ministry stated on Sunday that seven PKK terrorists were killed in counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq.
The terrorists were killed at different locations during Turkey's Claw operations in the region, the ministry said in a statement.
"Our operations will continue until the last terrorist is eliminated!" the ministry added.
The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq. 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 terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy from targeting terrorist threats.
Turkey launched Operations Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt on April 23 in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avaşin-Basyan regions near its borders.
Numerous PKK terrorist hideouts and bases are located in northern Iraq, from where they carry out attacks on Turkey.
Again in the July operations, security forces eliminated the PKK terrorist group's so-called logistical head in the Hakurk region in a joint operation conducted with MIT. Hakan Ateş, code-named "Serdar Pir Avesta," had been operating in northern Iraq since June 2015 and was active in the so-called Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), a PKK offshoot, and personally involved in the terrorist group's activities and recruitment affairs. Ateş, who was responsible for the logistics activities of the PKK in the Hakurk region, was also among the most trusted names of the terrorist group.
On Monday, security forces killed two YPG terrorists in the Operation Euphrates Shield region in northern Syria. The Defense Ministry stated that the terrorists were perpetrating an act of terrorism and that such attacks do not go unanswered.
Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful counterterrorism operations across its border in northern Syria: Euphrates Shield in 2016, Olive Branch in 2018 and Peace Spring in 2019. These operations all aimed to prevent the formation of a terrorism corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents.
Ankara considers the YPG/PKK a grave national security threat. Nonetheless, the group was largely deployed by the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition within the pretext of fighting the terrorist group on the ground.
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 and children.
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