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Turkish forces 'neutralize' 64 Kurdish PKK terrorists in northern Iraq: Defense Ministry

Iran Press TV

Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:49PM

Turkish military forces have killed nearly 60 members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group during a string of counter-terrorism operations in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Turkish Defense Ministry announced in a statement published on its official Twitter page on Sunday that the Kurdish terrorists had been "neutralized" ever since Turkish troops, supported by artillery strikes and air raids, launched Operation Claw in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq on May 27.

Turkey launched Operation Claw-2 in northern Iraq at 10 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) on Friday.

"This is a follow-up on the successfully ongoing Claw-1 operation in Hakurk area which revealed new information on terrorist activity," the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement added that Turkey will continue to destroy weapon emplacements and shelters used by PKK terrorists in Hakurk by means of the anti-terror operation.

"Operations in Hakurk will continue as planned by the Turkish Air Force, with the support of Turkish jets, ATAK helicopters, drones and armored military vehicles," the statement added.

The Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that the militants were killed, captured or they surrendered.

PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

Turkey, along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.

More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.

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