Turkey launches cross-border attack on Kurdish militants

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Turkey Launches Cross-Border Attack On Kurdish Militants Turkey Launches Cross-Border Attack On Kurdish Militants
Turkey Irak Kurds, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Associated Press Reporter

Turkey has launched a ground and air cross-border offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the country’s defence minister announced.

Turkish jets and artillery struck suspected targets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and commando troops — supported by helicopters and drones — then crossed into the region by land or were airlifted by helicopters, Hulusi Akar said.

He said the jets successfully struck shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots and headquarters belonging to the PKK.

The group maintains bases in northern Iraq and has used the territory for attacks on Turkey.


 

Turkey has conducted numerous cross-border aerial and ground operations against the PKK over the past decades. The latest offensive, named Operation Claw Lock, was centred in northern Iraq’s Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan regions.

“Our heroic commandoes and maroon berets — supported by attack helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, armed unmanned aerial vehicles — arrived on the scene by land and by air and captured the determined targets,” Mr Akar said. “Many terrorists were neutralised.”

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“At this point we have reached, all planned targets have been captured,” he said.

The Defence Ministry said the new offensive was launched after it was determined that the militants were regrouping and preparing for a “large-scale attack”.

The offensive was carried out in coordination with Turkey’s “friends and allies,” the ministry added.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, which controls the areas that were attacked.

The Turkish minister said the incursion was targeting “terrorists” and that “maximum sensitivity” was shown to avoid damage to civilians, and cultural and religious structures.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organisation by the US and the European Union, began an insurgency in Turkey’s majority Kurdish south east region in 1984.

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