Turkiye "neutralizes" PKK members in northern Iraq

Turkiye "neutralizes" PKK members in northern Iraq

Shafaq News/ The Turkish Defense Ministry announced that PKK fighters were "neutralized" in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The term "neutralize" is commonly used by Turkish authorities to indicate that the terrorists either surrendered, killed, or captured during the military operations.

"Turkish Armed Forces neutralized 32 PKK terrorists detected in the Haftanin, Gara, Hakurk and Claw-Lock Operation regions in northern Iraq." The Ministry said on X.

"We will not allow terrorist organizations to gain ground, and we will continue our fight with determination until there is not a single terrorist left in their region." The Ministry said.

Last April, 91 PKK members were neutralized in the Matina and Hakurk regions in northern Iraq in three separate operations.

According to the Ministry's spokesman, Zeki Akturk, a total of "748 terrorists have been neutralized since January 1, with 331 in northern Iraq (excluding today's announcement) and 417 in north Syria."

Notably, Turkiye conducts frequent operations against the PKK in northern Iraq, mainly in the Kurdistan Region, in an attempt to "eradicate" them from the borders.

Turkiye's operations have included a range of cross-border aerial and ground operations called Pençe (Operation Claw.)

In 2020, the first mission triggered a series of subsequent operations with similar names and methods of execution, each justified differently. Between June and September 2020, Ankara launched Operation Claw Eagle, characterized by airstrikes carried out by aircraft and drones targeting PKK positions in Mount Sinjar and Claw Tiger. Additionally, ground operations were conducted in Haftanin (Zakho District of Duhok) against Kurdish guerrilla forces.

In April 2021, the Turkish army launched Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt operations along the Iraq-Turkiye border near Metina, Zap, and Avashin-Basyan.

In April 2022, Ankara commenced Operation Claw-Lock in northern Iraq, establishing several bases in Duhok Governorate.

In March 2024, Turkiye proposed the establishment of a "joint operation center" with Iraq to combat the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a move that has received a positive response from Baghdad.

According to a Turkish defense ministry, the proposal aims to enhance cooperation in addressing the PKK's activities along the Iraq-Turkiye border.

The recent developments have signaled a shift in Iraq's stance.

Following high-level talks between Turkish and Iraqi officials, Iraq announced the designation of the PKK as a "banned organization," aligning with Turkiye's concerns and paving the way for enhanced cooperation in combating terrorism.

As the Turkish military pushed more militants out of Turkiye, by 2019, the conflict's concentration shifted to northern Iraq and northern Syria.

The PKK is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

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