Turkish military seizes major PKK arms stash in southeast
ANKARASecurity forces have seized a major arms stash belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s southeast, the Turkish military stated on May 8, calling it “the biggest blow to the militants’ logistic support in recent years.”
According to a statement from the Turkish Armed Forces, security forces spotted 25 caves used by the militants in the İncebel-Kato mountain region of the Beytüşşebap district of Şırnak province that were declared to be “the main weapons and ammunition storage of the PKK in the country,” as a part of an ongoing operation launched on April 19.
It stated that a number of weapons and ammunition in different sizes and diameters including mortar weapons, anti-tank weapons, machine guns and infantry weapons were seized during searches conducted inside the caves on May 6 and 7 following an operation over the last three weeks.
The military also noted that the haul represented the largest number of weapons ever seized at a single time.
According to the military, security forces confiscated 237 Kalashnikovs, 23 G-3 infantry rifles, nine Bixi machine guns, eight Dragunov rifles, an MG-3 machine gun, a Zagros sharpshooter, an anti-tank weapon, an M-16 infantry rifle, two HK-33 infantry rifles, three Mauser rifles, nine pump rifles, three shotguns, nine rocket-propelled weapons, two flame throwers, seven mortars, along with 57,540 rounds of 7.62-millimeter ammunition, 32,242 rounds of Bixi machine gun ammunition, 7,330 anti-tank ammunitions, four tons of ammonium nitrate explosives, 240 hand-grenades, 236 anti-personnel rocket launcher ammunitions, 16 anti-tank mines, four anti-tank rocket launcher ammunitions as well as other equipment and life support material.
The road construction works to reach the sanctuaries and caves meanwhile have been ongoing with eight bulldozers, three excavators and other construction equipment, it added.
Separately, the Interior Ministry on May 8 announced that security forces conducted a total of 417 operations targeting PKK militants across the country since the beginning of the month. Some 214 people suspected of having links to the group were also detained, it said.
The ministry also added that 17 militants were “neutralized” during the nationwide operations.
Authorities often use the word “neutralized” to refer to militants in question as either killed, wounded or captured.
In addition, a total of 297 weapons, mostly heavy and long-barreled, were seized in the operations in addition to 1,545 explosive materials, 198 hand-grenades and 50,107 various equipment, according to the ministry.
Another 30 handmade explosives and 30 sanctuaries and caves used by militants were also destroyed, it added.