Turkish fighter jets, carrying out airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, hit 10 PKK targets, including a meeting of the group's leadership in the Qandil mountains, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday in southeastern Şanlıurfa province.
"We conducted our first operation with 20 jets and we hit 10 important targets in Qandil. The second time, we hit a meeting of their [PKK] leadership in Qandil," Erdoğan said, referring to the PKK terrorist organization's headquarters located in the Qandil mountains. Erdoğan's remarks were made during the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) election campaign rally in Şanlıurfa for the June elections and amid Turkey's recently launched operation on Qandil to eliminate the PKK presence along Turkey's borders.
Turkish security forces have so far crossed in almost 30 kilometers into northern Iraq. Nearly 200 terrorists have been killed in recent airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq. The Qandil mountains, located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Iraq's Irbil province, are being used as headquarters by the PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), although the area is under de jure control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The area has frequently been hit by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the last decade, yet a ground operation had not been launched in recent years. Qandil became the PKK's main headquarters in the 1990s after it used the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon as training grounds for many years.
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