Turkey's security forces killed two more PKK terrorists during an ongoing security operation in northern Iraq, officials said Friday.
Fresh airstrikes raised the toll from 58 to 60 during Operation Claw, which was launched on May 27 to clear the region of PKK terrorists, the National Defense Ministry said in a tweet.
A total of 112 terrorists, including those targeted in Operation Claw, were killed in northern Iraq during the same period, the ministry added.
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 many women and children. 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 from 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 has been 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.
It was also reported that a Turkish soldier was killed in a clash with PKK terrorists in the Çukurca district of the southeastern province Hakkari. Releasing a written statement, the Defense Ministry expressed its sorrow and condolences.