Turkey Has Launched a “Claw Operation” Against PKK Targets in Northern Iraq (Video)
ANKARA (BGM) – The Turkish military has launched a counter-terrorism operation against PKK targets in northern Iraq’s Hakurk region, according to the Defense Ministry, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, quoting Hurriyet.
Called “Operation Claw,” the offensive started in the afternoon on May 27 with artillery salvos and airstrikes, the ministry said in a statement on May 28.
“This operation aims to demolish the caves and shelters that are being used by terrorist groups and to eliminate terrorists,” the statement said.
Commando brigades were also deployed in the area via helicopters, an aerial footage broadcast by local media showed on May 28. Photos showing shells fired by howitzers and soldiers perched on ridges, surveying hillsides with their rifles were also shared by the ministry.
At least 10 F-16 and F-4 air fighters accompanied by an Airborne Warning and Control System surveillance plane hit targets, local media reported.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and top generals of the Turkish Armed Forces commanded the operation throughout the night.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wished success to the Turkish soldiers taking part in the cross-border operation in a tweet on May 28 before meeting with his Iraqi counterpart in Istanbul at a fast-breaking iftar dinner.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union; is headquartered in northern Iraq and runs several camps used by militants to infiltrate into Turkey. Turkey has sporadically carried out cross-border operations in northern Iraq against the PKK in the last decades. Turkey conducts airstrikes to hit PKK targets in the area regularly.
The Turkish military has also conducted two counter-terrorism operations in northwest Syria in recent years, clearing the area of members of ISIL and the YPG, which is deemed by Turkey as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
“It is not just about chasing the terrorists. The operation aims at creating dominance on the field,” security expert and former special force officer Abdullah Ağar told daily Hürriyet on May 28.
“The terrorists were in an attempt to create an impact by infiltrating from Iraq’s mountainous areas. That impact should have been averted. Exactly, it is being carried out with this operation,” he said.
Following the intense air operations, the Turkish soldiers can go deeper to break logistical lines between the PKK and the YPG, he added.
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