ISTANBUL (AP) – Turkish warplanes “neutralised” 23 Kurdish militants in a raid 140 kilometres inside Iraq, the Turkish Defence Ministry said yesterday.
The ministry usually refers to killed militants as “neutralised”. It said the number of casualties in the mission in the Asos region of northern Iraq, which is controlled by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, was expected to rise.
A video accompanying the ministry’s tweet showed F-16 fighters taking off and a number of explosions in a mountainous area.
The ministry referred to a statement from Defence Minister Hulusi Akar on Thursday in which he said airstrikes had hit 16 targets in the Asos region.
Turkey has been conducting a series of operations in northern Iraq since 2019, saying the military is targetting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, to prevent it from launching cross-border attacks on Turkey. In April, Operation Claw-Lock was launched, which involves ground and air forces.
The PKK has waged an on-again, off-again insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. The group is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
The Defence Ministry later said seven “terrorists” had been neutralised in north Syria in response to the killing of a Turkish police officer in a missile attack yesterday.