Turkey’s defense minister declared early Monday that Turkey has launched a fresh land and air cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a video posted on the ministry’s website that Turkish jets and artillery struck targets belonging to 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.
According to Akar, the planes successfully attacked PKK shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammo dumps, and headquarters. The group has facilities in northern Iraq, which it has exploited to launch strikes against Turkey.
Over the years, Turkey has carried out several cross-border aircraft and ground operations against the PKK. According to Akar, the new onslaught was focused in northern Iraq’s Metina, Zap, and Avashin-Basyan districts.
“Our business is progressing smoothly and on schedule. “The first phase’s objectives have been met,” Akar stated.
The number of troops and jets involved in the current incursion was not disclosed.
“We are resolved to redeem our wonderful nation from the 40-year terror misfortune,” Akar declared. “Our fight will go on until the last terrorist is eliminated.”
The onslaught, dubbed “Operation Claw Lock,” was begun after it was discovered that the militants were reorganizing and prepared for a “large-scale strike,” according to the Defense Ministry.
The attack was carried out in collaboration with Turkey’s “friends and partners,” according to the ministry, which did not go into detail. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, met with Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, which governs the attacked areas, last week.
The incursion was targeting “terrorists,” according to the Turkish minister, and “utmost caution” was used to avoid harming civilians and cultural and religious sites.
The Kurdish militant group has yet to issue a statement.
Since the PKK, a terrorist group designated by the United States and the European Union, launched an insurgency in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast region in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been slaughtered.