Military hit PKK in N Iraq, southeast Turkey

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 01.07.2018 21:06

Eight PKK terrorists have been killed in Turkish airstrikes in the country's southeastern and eastern provinces, and in northern Iraq, the military said yesterday.

The Turkish General Staff in a message on Twitter confirmed that its fighter jets carried out airstrikes in northern Iraq's Zap region, and in the rural areas of southeastern Şırnak and eastern Van provinces during the weekend.

Since March, Turkey has intensified operations against the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq - particularly in the Qandil mountains region, where the group's headquarters are located.

Turkish security forces have so far advanced almost 30 kilometers into northern Iraq, while nearly 200 terrorists have been killed in recent airstrikes on PKK targets in the region.

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), despite the area being under the de jure control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Members of the PKK leadership including Murat Karayılan and Cemil Bayık are also thought to be hiding in the region.

The area has frequently been hit by the Turkish military in the last decade, causing occasional tension between the Turkish and Iraqi government as the latter objected of violation of its independence.

Mount Qandil became the main headquarters of the PKK in the ‘90s after the terrorist group used Lebanon's Bekaa Valley as its training grounds for many years.

After Daesh's expulsion from northern Syria, the PKK's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) settled in the area, and also took control of the Sinjar mountains, connecting the PKK's Syrian and Iraqi elements.

In April, Turkey hit PKK targets on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq and Mount Karachok in northeastern Syria to cut the corridor.

Formed in 1978, the PKK terrorist group has fought a long separatist battle with the Turkish state. Its terror campaign has caused the deaths of more than 40,000 people. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

The PKK resumed its decades-old campaign in July 2015 after a three-year cease-fire collapsed. More than 1,200 people, including security personnel and civilians, have lost their lives in PKK attacks since.

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