Nine PKK terrorists were killed in airstrikes in Turkey’s southeastern Şırnak province, the the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said in a statement Sunday.
The operation was carried out on the weekend in Şırnak’s Bestler and Dereler region near the Mount Judi.
Turkish jets also targeted shelters, weapon positions and arms’ depots in the regions of Avasin-Basyan and Hakurk in northern Iraq, the TSK said in a statement Sunday. No further details were provided regarding the timing of the operation.
Airstrikes on PKK targets in southeast Turkey and Northern Iraq where the terrorist PKK has its main base in the mountainous Qandil region near the Iranian border have been carried out regularly since July 2015 when the PKK resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state.
Earlier this week, seven Turkish soldiers and two members of the country’s village guard were killed after clashes with PKK terrorists who were trying to cross into Turkey’s southeastern Hakkari province from northern Iraq. The clashes erupted as terrorists were trying to infiltrate rural areas of the border town of Derecik in Şemdinli district from Iraq.
The attack comes amid Turkey’s efforts to stave off terror threats both from Iraq and neighboring Syria where the PKK offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG) are active.
According to Turkish military sources, 19 PKK terrorists were killed by security forces since the attack in Derecik, while nine others were killed in the Nazimiye district of eastern Tunceli province, and three more terrorists were killed in southeastern Şırnak province. An air-supported operation is underway in the area as clashes continue, reports said.
Whereas Iran announced Friday that eight soldiers were killed in a clash with a terrorist group near the northwestern city of Siah Ceshmeh (Çaldıran or Chaldiran) located some 15 kilometers east of the border with Turkey. Iranian authorities stated that in the clashes, which initially began between Iranian border guards and militants, many terrorist were killed. The PKK terrorist group operates in Iran with the name of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK).
The PKK has avoided direct confrontation with the Turkish military since the early 2000s and often carries out hit-and-run attacks. Thursday’s incident in Derecik was the first direct PKK attack on Turkish soldiers in months, amid efficient operations and superior firepower conducted by Turkish forces in the countryside.
Founded in 1978, the PKK has waged a decades-long bloody campaign against Turkey. The group, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, resumed its armed campaign in July 2015 after a brief reconciliation period. Since that time, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 1,200 security personnel and civilians, including women and children, while more than 4,000 security personnel and over 2,000 civilians have been injured.