Turkey has ‘neutralized’ 50 PKK militants in northern Iraq since March 10: Report
The Turkish Armed Forces have “neutralized” nine more outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq, bringing the total number since March 10 to 50, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 22.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
The nine militants were “neutralized” in northern Iraq’s Hakurk region. The Turkish army believes they were plotting to carry out an attack on Turkish military bases, the agency said.
The militants were spotted by military drones in the Yüksekova disrict of the southeastern province of Hakkari.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 8 that Turkey and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad will carry out a joint operation against the PKK in northern Iraq.
Çavuşoğlu’s comments came as Turkey pushed ahead with a cross-border military operation in northern Syria’s Afrin region against People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, who Ankara considers terrorists for their links to the outlawed PKK.
Speaking to reporters on his flight from Germany to Austria, Çavuşoğlu said the joint cross-border operation with Iraq may start after Iraq holds parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2018, signaling Turkish troops may move to northern Iraq following the ongoing operation.
“Even if the Afrin operation has not yet been completed, we have the capacity to carry out both operations simultaneously,” Çavuşoğlu said.