ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey said on Friday that its fighter jets attacked areas over its southern border in the Kurdistan Region, targeting alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members and "neutralizing" five of them.
The Ministry of National Defense announced in an online statement that air raids targeted positions in the Zab and Metina areas, which fall in the Kurdistan Region’s province of Duhok along border regions near Turkey. According to the statement, five PKK members had been “neutralized,” a term used by Ankara to indicate that an individual has been killed, incapacitated, or captured.
The military did not specify the date or dates of the operation, but Turkish forces carried out bombings on Tuesday of areas roughly in the locations described. Local sources at the time could not confirm whether or not PKK fighters had sustained any casualties, but did report that the bombings had resulted in extensive damage to farms and other property.
The PKK is engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule in a conflict that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides.
Videotaped confessions released last week by security forces in the Kurdistan Region show suspects, arrested for the recent highly-publicized assassination of a Turkish diplomat in Erbil, claiming that the shooting was planned and carried out by PKK members.
Turkey's latest raids come as part of Turkey’s so-called Operation Claw, which began in late May. The campaign has entered its second phase, Turkish authorities announced earlier. The defense ministry said in mid-July that, as of then, their forces had “neutralized” 71 PKK fighters in ground and air operations within the airspace of the Kurdistan Region.
In the past year, Turkey has carried out military operations against PKK fighters based in the Kurdistan Region with continued regularity. Turkish forces have crossed into the region up to 20 kilometers deep in some areas to target the guerilla group.
During the bombings, Ankara has killed dozens of civilians unaffiliated to the PKK since then and has caused extensive damage to farms and killed locals’ livestock. Residents of such areas have long called on the Turkish military and the PKK to take their fighting elsewhere.
Editing by John J. Catherine