Turkey 'neutralises' dozens of PKK militants in Iraq
A total of 43 members of the leftist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been “neutralised” in northern Iraq, the Turkish defence ministry has said.
Turkey has claimed to substantially crack down on the militants, whom it views as terrorists, in an operation that has led to the arrest and destruction of dozens of PKK members, weapons and shelters.
“43 PKK terrorists have been neutralised as part of Operation Claw, which has continued successfully for 13 days in the Kirkuk region of northern Iraq,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The statement added the Turkish military destroyed 53 mines and improvised explosive devices and 74 caves and shelters used by the PKK are now rendered inoperative.
The ministry said along with destroying PKK weapons, it had also confiscated weapons and ammunition belonging to the militants.
Turkey’s defence minister Hulusi Akar vowed to continue Operation Claw until “the last terrorist is neutralised”.
The term “neutralise” often means to kill, capture or wound.
The operation, dubbed by Ankara as Operation Claw, was launched in Iraq’s northern Hakurk region on 27 June. The Turkish military have been using airstrikes and commando brigade operations against the outlawed PKK group.
The PKK is based in northern Iraq, notably in the Qandil region to the south of Kirkuk.
The PKK insurgency began in 1984, in Kurdish majority southeast Turkey, which has since been a thorn in Ankara’s side.
The militant group is designated to be a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
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