Turkish airstrikes eliminate 19 PKK/YPG terrorists in Iraq, Syria - M5 Dergi
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Turkish airstrikes eliminate 19 PKK/YPG terrorists in Iraq, Syria

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Turkish airstrikes targeting hideouts of the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian wing, the YPG, across northern regions of Iraq and Syria have eliminated 19 PKK/YPG terrorists, the Defense Ministry said.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) eliminated 15 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq and four YPG members in northern Syria.

“The terrorists will not be able to avoid the inevitable end that awaits them,” the ministry said via X.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and is designated a terrorist organization by Ankara, as well as the United States and the European Union. It operates in northern Syria through its local offshoot, the YPG, which has occupied a chunk of the country’s northeast since 2015 with military support from the U.S.

Since Turkish operations have driven its domestic presence to near extinction, the PKK has moved a large chunk of its operations to northern Iraq, including a stronghold in the Qandil Mountains, located roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the Turkish border in Irbil.

Türkiye has over the past 25 years operated several dozen military bases in northern Iraq in its war against the PKK, as well as the war against Daesh, which controlled much of the area, in 2014 and 2015, when Ankara was an ally in the U.S.-led anti-Daesh campaign.

Ankara launched Operation Claw-Lock in April 2022, the latest in the string of cross-border “Claw” offensives kicked off in 2019, to demolish terrorist lairs across Metina, Avashin-Basyan, Zap and Gara districts and prevent the formation of a terror corridor along Turkish borders.

The PKK carried out attacks killing more than a dozen Turkish soldiers in the past two months in Metina. The high toll led to an increase in Turkish operations, which sometimes take place deep into Iraqi territory. The operations have regularly strained bilateral ties, but officials have repeatedly assured Türkiye’s respect of Iraq’s sovereignty and commitment to only targeting terrorists.

Ankara plans a new swoop in on the militants this spring and has sought Iraqi cooperation, in the form of a joint operations room, as well as recognition by Baghdad of the PKK threat.

In Syria, Türkiye conducted a trio of successful counterterrorism operations in 2016, 2018 and 2019 to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents displaced by YPG terrorists and the 13-year civil war.

Source: Daily Sabah

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