Counterterror operations against PKK continue in northern Iraq, southeast Turkey

Published 26.06.2019 00:33

Turkish security forces killed nine PKK terrorists in the last two days in northern Iraq as the counterterrorism Operation Claw continues, the Defense Ministry said yesterday.

On Twitter, the ministry said the anti-terror operations targeted the terrorists in the Hakurk and Metina regions.

Two of the terrorists were killed earlier in the day, and three others later, according to the ministry.

Four PKK members were also hit by Turkish fighter jets on Monday.

Ammunition depots and shelters used by the terror group were also destroyed in the airstrikes.

Operation Claw aims to prevent the infiltration of PKK terrorists onto Turkish soil from Hakurk and to spoil the settlement plans of militants in the area.

The Hakurk area facilitates terrorist crossings between Qandil and Iraq's Salahaddin province bordering Syria, where the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the People's Protection Units (YPG) control large swathes of territory.

Turkey had previously warned the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government about eliminating the PKK presence within their borders to maintain Turkey's border security.

Despite top officials from both governments often expressing their discomfort with PKK camps and activities, saying they won't allow militants to attack Turkey from their soil, no serious action was taken.

With no concrete results from Iraq and the KRG efforts, Turkey took matters into its own hands, assuming a hard line against the PKK presence in northern Iraq. Last year, security forces crossed 30 kilometers into northern Iraq. They neutralized at least 200 terrorists in operations against PKK targets.

Separately, Turkish security forces killed seven terrorists in eastern and southeastern Turkey, the Interior Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

In an air-supported operation, two terrorists were killed by the provincial gendarmerie command in the Hani area in the southeastern Diyarbakır province, the statement added.

Also, in Hakkari's Semdinli district, four terrorists were killed in an operation carried out by the provincial gendarmerie command and the provincial security directorate.

In an operation carried out by the Tunceli provincial gendarmerie command, one terrorist was killed in the eastern province.

Operations in the region continue, the ministry said.

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 deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

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