A cross-border ground offensive is supported by artillery, fighter jets, helicopters and drones
According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, Ankara has launched a major cross-border military offensive targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq.
The operation will include an extensive airstrike campaign using jets, helicopters and drones, as well as a ground raid by commando forces, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced in a statement. video addressMonday morning.
Ankara claims it successfully destroyed several bunkers, tunnels and ammunition depots, as well as the PKK military headquarters in the Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan border regions of northern Iraq, before ground forces moved into the neighboring state. It is unclear how many troops and military equipment are involved in the operation.
Bordo Berelilerimiz ve Komandolarımız Metina, Zap ve Avaşin-Basyan’da! pic.twitter.com/H6fiMvcExL
— TC Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) April 17, 2022
“Our operation continues successfully as planned. The objectives set for the first phase have been achieved.” Akar said, as quoted by AP.
Turkish troops target only “terrorists”, take extra precautions to prevent the loss of civilian casualties and damage to cultural heritage, the minister claimed.
“Our fight will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized,” he said. “We are determined to save our noble nation from the terror accident that has plagued our country for 40 years.”
The PKK is a Kurdish militant political organization and an armed guerrilla movement fighting for an independent Kurdistan, has been fighting Ankara since 1984 in a war that has claimed more than 40,000 lives. Over the years, Turkey has conducted multiple military operations against the PKK, which is based in northern Iraq and has used the area to foment insurgency in eastern Turkey.
The PKK has also been designated a terrorist group by the US, UK and EU. However, the Kurds were an important ally of the West and the US in the fight against Islamic State terrorists, both in Syria and Iraq. Washington has a military foothold in Syrian Kurdish-controlled regions, while the Iraqi Kurdistan region is home to several US military installations and a US consulate in Erbil.