Turkey launches op against PKK in north Iraq

Tue 28 May 2019 09:02 GMT | 13:02 Local Time

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The Turkish military launched an operation into the camps of the PKK terrorist group in Northern Iraq's Hakurk region with commando brigades and fire support from helicopters, the Ministry of National Defense announced in a statement Tuesday, Daily Sabah reports.

The "Claw" operation was launched at 8 p.m. on Monday following artillery and airstrikes targeting PKK shelters and ammunition depots. After the bombardment, commando brigades, backed by T-129 ATAK helicopters and armed and unarmed drones, were deployed into the area.

The operation aims to destroy shelters and caves used by the terrorist group, the statement said.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and army, air force and navy commanders directed the operation throughout the night at the Command and Operation Center at the Turkish General Staff headquarters in Ankara.

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

The area also facilitates their crossing between Qandil and Iraq's Salahaddin province bordering Syria, where PKK's Syrian offshoot People's Protection Units (YPG) controls the northeastern one-third of the country.

Hakurk is frequently targeted by Turkish jets in airstrikes.

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.

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