Turkey launches ground, air operation in northern Iraq

Turkey launches ground, air operation in northern Iraq

Turkey launches ground, air operation in northern Iraq

Turkey has launched a new ground and air operation against PKK terrorists in northern Iraq on April 23, according to the Turkish defense ministry.

Commando forces landed in the Metina region from helicopters while warplanes dropped bombs on PKK targets.

Other regions targeted in the operation include Qandil, Zap, Gara and Avaşin-Basyan. 

Turkish commandos supported by the Air Force, ATAK helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) have entered the region in an air attack operation.

"Heroic commandos of the heroic Turkish Armed Forces are in northern Iraq," the defense ministry said in a tweet without specifying how many soldiers were involved.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Turkish Armed Forces Command were managing and dispatching the operation from the Army Command Control Center.

The Turkish army regularly conducts cross-border operations and air raids on PKK bases in northern Iraq.

In February, Turkey launched an operation called "Claw-Eagle 2" against PKK terrorists holed up in the northern Iraqi region of Dohuk.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Operation will help peace, security: Turkish president

The operation aims to completely eliminate the terrorist threat along Turkey’s southern borders, said the Turkish president on April 24. 

“This operation, carried out with respect for Iraq’s territorial integrity, will contribute to the establishment of peace and security in the region,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said via video link to the Operations Pençe-Şimsek and Pence-Yıldırım command center.

He stressed that Turkey aims to rid its southern borders of terrorism against efforts to establish a terrorist presence there.

There is no place for separatist terrorist groups in the future of Turkey or neighboring Iraq or Syria, said Erdoğan.

So far in the operation many terrorists have been neutralized and multiple shelters and caves destroyed, he added.

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