Turkey launches military operation in northern Iraq against Kurdish militia — RT EN

18 Apr 2022 10:28 am

According to the Turkish army, it has launched an extensive military operation against fighters from the PKK guerrilla organization, which Ankara has classified as a terrorist organization. Media close to the PKK confirmed the attacks.

According to the Defense Ministry in Ankara, Turkey has launched a large-scale, cross-border military offensive against fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

The operation includes an extensive air raid campaign using fighter jets, helicopters and drones, as well as a ground offensive by commandos supported by artillery salvos, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a video address on Monday morning.

Ankara claims to have successfully destroyed several PKK bunkers, tunnels and ammunition depots, as well as military bases in northern Iraq’s border areas of Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan before ground forces advanced into the neighboring state. It is unclear how many troops and military hardware are involved in the operation. According to the Associated Press news agency, Akar explained:

“Our operation continues to be successful – as planned. The goals set for the first phase have been achieved.”

The Turkish armed forces would only target “terrorists” and take special precautions to avoid loss of civilian life and damage to cultural heritage sites, the minister said. Acar said:

“Our fight will continue until the last terrorist is eliminated. We are determined to save our noble people from the calamity of terror that has plagued our country for 40 years.”

According to Akar, the PKK is collapsing. In addition, the Turkish defense minister confirmed that the operation would be carried out in accordance with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the “friend and brother state of Iraq”. Turkey relies on Article 51 of the UN Charter for the operation, according to which states have the right to self-defense.

The Kurdish militia meanwhile reported the first strikes against the Turkish army. When Turkish soldiers tried to land in Zap with a helicopter, eight Turkish soldiers were “punished” during an attack, the PKK-affiliated news agency ANF reported. The agency also reported fighting in other parts of northern Iraq. The Congress of Democratic Societies from Kurdistan in Europe (KCDK-E), an umbrella organization close to the PKK, called on Kurds to defend themselves against the Turkish “occupation”. In the statement, the umbrella organization accuses the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which dominates the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan, of betrayal and complicity in the military operation.

The PKK is a militant Kurdish political organization that has waged an armed guerrilla struggle for Kurdistan’s autonomous status since 1984. The conflict has already claimed more than 40,000 lives. Over the years, Turkey has conducted several military operations against the PKK, which is based in northern Iraq and uses the area to support the insurgency in eastern Turkey.

The PKK has been classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, the UK and the EU. However, the Kurds have been a key ally of the West and the US in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in both Syria and Iraq. Washington maintains a military base in the Kurdish-controlled regions of Syria. The autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq is also home to several US military installations and a US consulate in Erbil.

More on the subject – Turkey extends military operations in Iraq and Syria again

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