ISTANBUL: Turkey on Monday said it has launched a new air and ground offensive against outlawed Kurdish militants in northern Iraq involving special forces and combat drones.
Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said commando units, unmanned aerial vehicles and attack helicopters were pounding Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) hideouts in three restive regions near the Turkish border.
Designated as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, the PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Turkey routinely carries out attacks in Iraq, where the PKK has bases and training camps in the Sinjar region and on the mountainous border with Turkey.
“Our heroic pilots successfully struck shelters, caves, tunnels and ammunition depots belonging to the terrorist organisation,” Akar said.
“A large number of terrorists were neutralised,” he said, adding that the scale of the operation will “further increase in the coming hours and days”.
Akar would not say how many troops were involved in the operation, which he said started on Sunday night.
Asked to comment on Turkey’s operation, a PKK spokesman in Iraq said on condition of anonymity: “The occupation army, which tried to land troops by helicopters, also wanted to advance by land.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2022