Security forces dealt a heavy blow to PKK in first half of 2017

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 11.06.2017 20:37

Having stepped up counter-terrorism efforts at the beginning of 2017 against the PKK terrorist group and dealing a heavy blow, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) recently said that around 900 terrorists have been killed and tons of ammunition, weapons and other material have been seized from the terrorist group.

According to figures from the Turkish military, 894 terrorists have been killed in Turkey and northern Iraq where the PKK's headquarters are located since the beginning of the New Year until June 8. The Turkish military also discovered and destroyed 640 caves, depots and warehouses used by the PKK in the southeast of the country.

The Turkish military has been carrying out operations in the Kato Mountains in southeastern Turkey's Şırnak province. The mountains used to be a safe haven for the PKK. But, the group was dealt a heavy blow there since operations began around two months ago.

Security forces have so far seized 782 weapons, 422,477 rounds of ammunition, more than five tons of ammonium nitrate and more than 80 tons of food and basic life materials in the Kato Mountain Operation.

The PKK is listed as a terror group by the U.S., the EU, and Turkey.

On Saturday, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu provided the public with some figures with regards to anti-PKK operations in the last nine months. Around 1,100 terrorists have been killed in the past nine months, the interior minister said during a speech at a paramilitary police command in the eastern province of Muş. Minister Soylu added that 1,068 terrorists have been killed, 27 were injured, 369 were captured alive and 289 surrendered and 1,256 shelters have been destroyed.

Meanwhile, Turkish airstrikes killed four PKK terrorists in the Mt. Kato area of southeastern Şırnak province, a General Staff statement said Saturday morning.

According to the statement, the airstrikes were carried out after drones spotted terrorists in the area preparing for an attack. The statement added that on June 5-9, Turkish forces located 10 terrorist hideouts in caves and seized an M-16 infantry rifle, two sniper rifles, 26 AK-47s, and many other hand grenades and bombs, as well as food and 650 liters of diesel oil.

The number of PKK recruits has dramatically decreased in the past year as well. People joining the PKK ranks in the first four months of 2017 dropped by almost 90 percent, compared to the same period last year.

While the PKK was able to recruit only 41 militants over the course of the first four months this year, that number was 415 in the same period last year.

The terror group has been responsible for the deaths of 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including a number of women and children, since it unilaterally broke a years-long ceasefire with the Turkish state.

Nearly 10,000 terrorists have been neutralized in air and land operations since July 23, 2015, according to the military. More than 7,000 have been killed and the remainder wounded, captured or surrendered.

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