Turkey launches Operation Claw-Tiger in northern Iraq
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey has launched Operation Claw-Tiger against terrorists in northern Iraq, the National Defense Ministry announced early on June 17.
The ministry said on Twitter that Turkish commando forces were in Iraq’s Haftanin region.
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.
"#Operation Claw-Tiger is being carried out as part of our legitimate defense rights arising from international law oriented against the PKK and other terrorist elements that have recently attempted increased harassment and attacks on our police station and base areas," the statement added.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Turkish Armed Forces Command are managing and dispatching the operation from the Army Command Control Center.
According to the security sources, Turkish forces hit over 150 targets of the PKK terror group in the region with howitzers and multiple rocket launchers.
Following airstrikes, Turkish commandos have also conducted an infiltration operation through land and air to the terrorist targets.
"You have always shown the power of the Turkish commando, we believe that you will show it once again in those mountains today, and make history as you have done before,” Akar told the commanders of the troops.
Later in the day, the National Defense Ministry shared a video on its Twitter account showing the moments when the terror targets were destroyed. "As part of the Operation Claw-Tiger that started last night, the Air Forces Command destroyed the terror targets in Haftanin region with precision strikes," it added.
In a separate tweet, the ministry said that Turkish commandos continue to defuse mines and improvised explosive devices planted by PKK terrorists in the region, as well as destroying arms, ammunition and life materials used by them.
On June 15, the ministry announced the start of Operation Claw-Eagle in northern Iraq, noting that Turkish fighter jets had destroyed caves where terrorists were taking shelter and the caves had collapsed on them.
The operation was being carried out against terrorist bases in Sinjar, Qandil, Karacak, Zap, Avaşin-Basyan and Hakurk.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey slams Arab League chief’s remarks on operation
Meanwhile, Turkey on June 16 slammed the Arab League chief for his statement against the country’s ongoing anti-terror operation in northern Iraq.
Hami Aksoy, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said in a written statement it is strange that the Arab League's Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit ignores oppression of PKK terror organization which not only threatens Turkey's sovereignty but also Iraq, a member of Arab League.
"We invite the Arab League secretary-general, who ignores the ethnic cleansing policy and crimes of the PYD/YPG/PKK terrorist organization, to adopt a principled and consistent discourse on the fight against terrorism," Aksoy added.