Türkiye eliminates over 670 PKK/YPG terrorists in Iraq, Syria - M5 Dergi
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Türkiye eliminates over 670 PKK/YPG terrorists in Iraq, Syria

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Turkish security forces upped the ante against PKK/YPG targets in northern Iraq and Syria, taking out 27 terrorists in the past week alone, the Defense Ministry reported.

Türkiye’s counterterrorism operation eliminated over 670 members of the PKK and YPG in northern Syria and Iraq so far in 2024, including 27 in the past week alone, a Defense Ministry official said Thursday.

A total of 673 terrorists have been eliminated, with 280 in northern Iraq and 393 in northern Syria since Jan. 1, 2024, ministry spokesperson Zeki Aktürk told reporters at a weekly briefing in the capital, Ankara.

PKK terrorists often hide in northern Iraq to plot cross-border attacks in Türkiye.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful counterterrorism operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

In its nearly 40-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S. and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian affiliate that has occupied a chunk of the country’s northeast since 2015 with military support from the U.S.

“Türkiye continues its efforts to help maintain stability and ensure normalization in Syria, and return Syrian refugees to a safe environment,” Aktürk said, adding that security forces have “given the necessary response to PKK/YPG’s harassment fires and attempted attacks in operation zones.”

Türkiye has upped its airstrikes on PKK targets and warned of a new incursion after the terrorists carried out three attacks on Turkish forces and killed 22 soldiers in the region in the last four months. The PKK is not designated a terrorist organization in Iraq but is banned from launching operations against Türkiye from Iraqi territory. It nevertheless has a foothold in northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous north controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), where the central Iraqi government has little influence.

Ankara is seeking Baghdad’s cooperation in quelling the last of the terrorist group. In a promising move, Iraq acknowledged the PKK as a security threat to both Türkiye and itself after talks between Turkish and Iraqi foreign ministers in Baghdad early last month.

Ankara says it is alarmed about the KRG’s logistical or political support of the PKK, which seeks to legitimize its presence through political parties and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in northern Iraq.

Illegal crossings

Regarding illegal border crossings into Türkiye, Aktürk said 109 people, including two members of terrorist organizations, were apprehended while attempting to cross within the past week.

Another 2,109 people were prevented from crossing the border as droves of irregular migrants tried to make their way to Europe through Türkiye.

“The number of people caught while attempting to cross our borders illegally since Jan. 1 has risen to 2,112. The number of people prevented from crossing the border without success has reached 41,571,” Aktürk informed.

He also said authorities seized 114 kilograms of narcotics in operations over the past week.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries with the hope of reaching Europe.

As most irregular migrants try to infiltrate Türkiye through its eastern borders, the country recently began constructing a security wall. Authorities say 80% of the wall and a 1,234-kilometer (767-mile) patrolling strip next to the wall are completed, with the remaining section set to be completed within the year.

Regional, global peace

Aktürk stressed the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) continued successful missions in various countries, namely northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Libya and Kosovo, within the framework of bilateral relations and international missions.

He emphasized Ankara’s commitment to supporting the interests and ensuring the security of Turkish Cypriots on the Mediterranean island, which has been divided since Türkiye stepped in following a Greek Cypriot coup to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence in 1974.

Repeating the need for a two-state solution on the island, Aktürk said, “We urge the sides to turn to a reasonable and logical solution that aligns with historical and current facts, instead of outdated, status quo and provocative discourses.”

He also lamented the “grave extent” of the tragedy and “unconscionable mass civilian deaths” in Gaza as Israel continues to increase its relentless strikes on the blockaded enclave while the conflict reaches the sixth-month mark.

“The fact that Israel deprives Palestinian people of their most basic rights and targets aid workers demonstrates the unfathomable scale of the tragedy,” Aktürk said.

Expressing concern over the conflict’s spread to other regional countries like Lebanon and Syria, the spokesperson repeated Türkiye’s call to the international community to “act at once to stop these inhumane attacks.”

“Necessary measures must be taken without delay to ensure the implementation of the U.N.’s latest cease-fire decision and additional measures announced by the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” he added.

More than 33,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed and more than 75,000 injured in Israel’s deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, in which 1,139 Israelis were killed. Israel is also starving Gaza with a strict blockade and often attacks humanitarian aid groups trying to deliver food and supplies to the Palestinians in the enclave.

Source: DailySabah

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