Turkey says 'neutralized' 108 Kurdish militants over past week
Iran Press TV
Sat Apr 7, 2018 12:26PM
Ankara has "neutralized" 108 Kurdish militants during operations in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq over the past week, the Turkish armed forces says.
Turkey uses the term "neutralize" to signify that militants were killed, injured or captured.
In its weekly roundup on Saturday, Turkey's armed forces said it had neutralized 31 militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the southeastern Turkish provinces of Tunceli, Mardin, Diyarbakir and Sirnak and 77 others during cross-border operations.
Earlier on Saturday, the Turkish military said it had neutralized six militants in an airstrike on Iraq's northern region of Hakurk.
Turkey regularly conducts airstrikes against PKK targets in Qandil mountains in northern Iraq, but it has recently extended the operations to Sinjar.
Earlier in March, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara and Baghdad planned to carry out a joint military operation against PKK members in the northern parts of Iraq.
Turkey said it had begun operations against Kurdish forces in Iraq's Sinjar region in late March, despite Iraq's announcement that no foreign forces had crossed the border into the country. A few days later, Iraq also started deploying forces in Sinjar region.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has told his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim that Baghdad would not allow cross-border attacks on Turkey.
Turkey has banned the PKK as a terrorist organization. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984. The three-decade conflict has left more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, dead.
The PKK gained a foothold in Sinjar in 2014 after coming to the aid of the Izadi minority community, who were targeted by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The Sinjar operations came after the Turkish military said it had established full control over Syria's northwestern Afrin region following more than two months of battle with the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as the Syrian branch of the PKK.
A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants in 2015 in the wake of a large-scale Turkish military campaign against the group.
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