Turkey's ongoing counterterrorism operations against the PKK within the country and northern Iraq have seen the terror group weakening due to heavy damage and losses caused by security forces. Yesterday, Turkish fighter jets killed nine PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement. On Twitter, the ministry said five PKK terrorists were targeted in the airstrikes carried out in coordination with the ongoing Operation Claw, Turkey's anti-terror operation against the PKK in northern Iraq's Metina, Avasin-Basyan and Gara regions.
The airstrikes also destroyed weapons emplacements and shelters used by the PKK terrorists, the ministry said.
Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence and bases. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also carry out cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks on Turkey.
The operations were intensified after July 2018 and have become routine since the beginning of another extensive campaign, Operation Claw, which was launched May 27 to entirely eliminate the presence of the terrorist organization in northern Iraq. On July 13, TSK launched Operation Claw-2 as a follow up to the successful Claw-1. Like the first, the second operation was also launched in northern Iraq's Hakurk region and aimed to continue to destroy weapons emplacements and shelters used by PKK terrorists.
Operation Claw-3, which is the follow-up to the previous two, was initiated on Aug. 23 in the Sinat-Haftanin region in northern Iraq. The operation was launched to facilitate border security, eliminate the presence of terrorists and destroy terrorist caves and shelters in the region.
The Hakurk region is among the main locations PKK terrorists use to infiltrate Turkey or attack Turkish border outposts. The area is located 30 to 40 kilometers south of the Derecik district of southeastern Hakkari province, bordering Iraq, and currently serves as the main base for the terrorists between Turkey and their headquarters in the Qandil mountains near the border with Iran.
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, children and infants.
Meanwhile, two suspected members of the PKK were arrested on Saturday in Turkey's southeastern Mardin province, bordering Syria, according to a statement by the governorship.
The statement said as part of Turkey's Operation Kıran-2, Turkish intelligence and security forces in the province's Nusaybin district arrested the suspects, believed to have been sent from Syria to Turkey to launch an attack.
On Aug. 18, Turkey launched Operation Kıran, an operation against PKK terrorists in Turkey's Van, Hakkari and Şırnak provinces, followed by the launch of Operation Kıran-2 on Aug. 27 in the Mardin, Şırnak and Batman provinces.
The operation aims to neutralize PKK terrorists and destroy their encampments and shelters in dozens of districts, villages and valleys in these provinces.