Turkey on Monday said it has launched a new aerial and land offensive against prohibited Kurdish militants in the north of Iraq involving special forces and combat drones. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that commandos, UAVs, and attack helicopters were shelling the hiding places of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in three regions near the Turkish border. Declared a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, the PKK has been carrying out an insurrection against the Turkish state since 1984, which has claimed tens of thousands of victims.
Turkey regularly leads 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 have succeeded in hitting shelters, caves, tunnels, and ammunition depots belonging to the terrorist organization,” Akar said. “A large number of terrorists have been neutralized,” he said, adding that the scope of the operation “will continue to grow in the hours and days ahead”. Akar did not mean how many soldiers were involved in the operation, which, in his opinion, began on Sunday night.
When questioned about Turkey’s operation, a PKK spokesman in Iraq stated, anonymously:’’ The occupying army, which was attempting to land troops by helicopter, also wanted to advance on the ground’’