Turkey launches a military offensive in Iraq
The military offensive will include an extensive airstrike campaign using jets, helicopters, and drones, as well as a ground incursion by commando troops, according to the Turkish Defense ministry.
Turkey's Defense Ministry announced that Ankara has launched a major cross-border military offensive against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, in a video address on Monday morning, that the operation will include an extensive airstrike campaign using jets, helicopters, and drones, as well as a ground incursion by commando troops.
Turkey claims it successfully destroyed multiple bunkers, tunnels, and ammunition depots, as well as the PKK's military headquarters, in northern Iraq's border areas of Metina, Zap, and Avashin-Basyan, before the PKK's ground forces entered Iraqi territories.
The number of troops and military equipment involved in the operation is unknown.
“Our operation is continuing successfully, as planned. The targets that were set for the first phase have been achieved,” Akar said, as quoted by AP.
According to the minister, Turkish forces are only targeting "terrorists," and they are taking extra precautions to avoid civilian casualties and damage to cultural heritage.
“Our struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized,” he said. “We are determined to save our noble nation from the terror misfortune that has plagued our country for 40 years.”
It is worth mentioning that Al Mayadeen correspondent reported that the Turkish military operation in northern Iraq began 4 days ago, yet Ankara officially announced it on Monday.
The PKK is a Kurdish militant political organization and armed guerrilla movement that has been fighting Ankara since 1984 in a war that has claimed more than 40,000 lives. Turkey has conducted numerous military operations against the PKK, which is based in northern Iraq.