Turkish warplanes were continuing on Wednesday to strike suspected Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq; while commando troops were conducting a search and sweep operation; Turkey’s defense ministry said; as the military pressed ahead with its latest incursion into the neighboring region.
Turkey’s military on Friday also launched a new ground and air offensive against militants of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party; or PKK; which maintain bases in northern Iraq and have used the territory for attacks against Turkey.
It was the first Turkish incursion into the region since February; when 13 Turkish citizens; who the Kurdish insurgents also abducted; were dead in a cave complex in an apparently botched operation; in order to rescue them.
Turkey has also conducted numerous cross-border aerial and ground operations against the PKK over the past decades and the latest offensive was in the center in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avashin-Basyan regions.
A defense ministry statement said the operation was continuing “as planned;” with suspected PKK targets being struck “from both the air and from the ground.”
Commando troops; who were also airlifted into the region; were meanwhile “leaving no stone unturned” while destroying PKK shelters; caves; weapons; ammunition; handmade explosives and mines; according to the statement.
The PKK has also described the latest incursion as a “genocidal attack” and called on “world democracies” to take a stance against Turkey.
Tens of thousands of people have been since the PKK; which is a terrorist organization, by the US and the European Union; began an insurgency in Turkey’s majority Kurdish southeast region in 1984.