4 PKK terrorists killed in airstrikes in northern Iraq

Published 02.07.2018 00:00
Updated 02.07.2018 15:40
emFile Photo/em
File Photo

At least four PKK terrorists were killed in airstrikes in northern Iraq, the Turkish General Staff said Monday.

In a post on Twitter, the military said fighter jets had conducted airstrikes on Monday in northern Iraq's Zap and Avashin-Basyan regions.

In recent days, Turkish officials have suggested that the Mount Qandil region -- where the terrorist group has its headquarters -- may be the target of a future operation.

"It is not a matter of operation, but a matter of timing," Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said. "Qandil is no longer a faraway goal for us."

The Qandil Mountains, located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Iraq's Irbil province, are being used as the headquarters of 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.

Meanwhile, 36 PKK terrorists were "neutralized" in nationwide operations last week, the Turkish Ministry of Interior said Monday.

According to a ministry statement, 21 terrorists were killed, four were captured alive and 11 surrendered.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" to refer to militants who are killed, captured or have surrendered.

The ministry said 1,363 operations were carried out nationwide. During the operations 985 people were arrested for terror-related crimes, 170 for allegedly aiding and abetting the PKK, 33 for suspected links to Daesh, 777 for suspected links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and five for suspected links to other left-wing terror organizations.

Security forces also destroyed two shelters and weapon pits, seized 74 kilograms of explosives and defused 11 improvised explosive devices.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people.

The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, resumed its armed campaign in July 2015 after a brief reconciliation period.

Since that time, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 1,200 security personnel and civilians, including women and children, while more than 4,000 security personnel and over 2,000 civilians have been injured.

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