Turkish forces 'neutralize' PKK leader of Kirkuk operations in Kurdistan's Qandil area

Anadolu claimed that Ariturk was responsible for several "terrorist attacks" on civilians in Afrin, the Kurdish-majority region in northwest Syria currently occupied by the Turkish army and paramilitary groups they back.
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Soldiers of the PKK stand in formation in the Kurdistan Region's Qandil Mountains. (Photo: Daniel W. Smith)
Soldiers of the PKK stand in formation in the Kurdistan Region's Qandil Mountains. (Photo: Daniel W. Smith)

Erbil (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish state-run media reported on Friday that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader for operations in Iraq's disputed Kirkuk province was "neutralized" in the Qandil Mountains.

According to Anadolu Agency, Turkish forces had "neutralized" PKK member Muhammad Khatib Ariturk, codenamed "Delil Siirt," in the Qandil region, close to the Turkey-Kurdistan Region border.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralize" in their statements to refer to the surrender, killing, or arrest of members of the PKK, which Ankara, along with the EU, the US, and NATO, considers a "terrorist organization."

Anadolu claimed that Ariturk was responsible for several "terrorist attacks" on civilians in Afrin, the Kurdish-majority region in northwest Syria currently occupied by the Turkish army and militants they back.

The PKK has been locked in a decades-long conflict against Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey that has led to tens of thousands of deaths on both sides.

The group is headquartered in the Kurdistan Region's Qandil Mountains, mostly in rural areas along the Turkish and Iranian borders.

Officials from both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have repeatedly called on Turkey and the PKK to take their fight away from areas populated by civilians, thousands of whom have been displaced and suffered damage to their farms, livestock, or other property.

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Others have suffered severe injury or even death due to skirmishes or Turkish bombardment of suspected PKK positions.