Turkey launches new cross-border operation in northern Iraq

Turkey said Monday it has launched a new ground and air cross-border operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

Turkish air forces first hit the PKK’s shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots and headquarters in the Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions in northern Iraq, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a video statement.

While artillery units struck the targets, the commando troops and special forces, supported by helicopters and drones, entered the regions by infiltration from land, Akar said.

“So far, our operation continues successfully as planned. The targets set in the first phase were achieved,” he said.

In a separate statement, the Turkish Defense Ministry said the “Operation Claw-Lock” was launched after the security forces determined that the PKK was planning to initiate a large-scale attack.

The operation is in line with Turkey’s self-defense rights arising from Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, the ministry said.

Turkey regularly conducts cross-border operations on PKK bases in northern Iraq. Iraq has condemned previous airstrikes by Turkish aircraft in its northern region, stressing its rejection to the violation of sovereignty.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for over 30 years. ■

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