Operation Claw continues to clear N Iraq of PKK terrorists

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 15.06.2019 00:19

Operation Claw continues in northern Iraq's Hakurk region with the Turkish military getting closer to PKK terrorist bases. Commando forces have been eliminating terrorists on the way and the latest statements indicate that 48 have been killed so far.

Since May 27, several terrorists have been killed in Turkey's counterterrorism operation in northern Iraq, an official statement said on Friday. Operation Claw has focused on completely eliminating terrorist threats in northern Iraq that emanate from the PKK. Security forces intensified Operation Claw with air support against militants and the terrorist organization's settlements in the region.

Commando forces, receiving air support from attack helicopters, artillery and airstrikes targeting PKK shelters and ammunition depots, continue to clear weapons placements, shelters and caves. While armed and unarmed drones provide assistance, Turkish forces also use the domestically produced Bora surface-to-surface tactical ballistic missiles for the first time in combat.

The Hakurk region is among the main locations PKK terrorists use to infiltrate Turkey or attack Turkish border outposts. The area is located some 30 to 40 kilometers south of the Derecik district of southeastern Hakkari province, bordering Iraq, and currently serves as the main base for terrorists between their headquarters in the Qandil Mountains near the border with Iran and Turkey.

The Qandil mountains, located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Iraq's Irbil province, are used as a headquarters by the PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), although the area is under de jure control of the Kurdish 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 Beqaa Valley in Lebanon as training grounds for many years.

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