On January 20th, Turkish fighter jets “neutralized” at least 6 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members in addition to weapons and shelter positions in the Zap, Sinat-Haftanin and Hakurk regions in тorthern Iraq, the Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement.
Irak kuzeyi Zap, Sinat-Haftanin ve Hakurk bölgelerine 20 Ocak 2019'da düzenlenen hava harekâtı neticesinde terör örgütüne ait silah mevzi, sığınak ve barınaklar imha edilmiş, üs bölgelerimize saldırı hazırlığında olan silahlı en az altı bölücü terörist etkisiz hale getirilmiştir. pic.twitter.com/W4c9EMM37x
— Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) January 21, 2019
According to the statement, the PKK was planning on attacking Turkish bases.
Approximately one month after Iraq formally complained that Turkish air strikes violated its sovereignty and endangered civilians, operations in the country’s north continue.
On December 15th, Iraqi authorities summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad to lodge complaints over the continuing attacks. Earlier on the same day, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced that it had neutralized 8 PKK militants.
On December 16th, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Ankara would continue attacking PKK positions in northern Iraq and rejected the Iraqi summons.
“The activities of the PKK terrorist organization in the territory of Iraq and Syria have become a national security issue for Turkey,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.
He said the government in Baghdad had a duty to prevent Iraqi land being used as a base for attacks on neighbors, and described December 15th’s air strikes as an act of self-defense which Turkey carried out because Iraq would not act.
“These operations in the fight against terrorism will continue as long as terror organizations nest on Iraqi soil and as long as Turkey’s security needs require it to,” Aksoy said.
On December 18th, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Northern Iraq’s Sinjar region will not be allowed to become “a new stronghold for the PKK terror group.”
“We expect the Iraqi government to cooperate with us in ending the separatist PKK terror group’s presence in Iraqi territories,” said Hulusi Akar in parliament.
Akar noted that Turkey respects the territorial integrity of Syria, Iraq and its neighbors.
“However, for the security of the country and the nation, our operations will continue until the PKK terror group has been completely defeated in the locations they exist in Iraq,” he said.
Since December 13th, the Turkey Defense Ministry has announced the following military actions in northern Iraq:
- On December 13th an operation was carried out against the PKK/YPG in the regions of Sinjar and the Karacak mountains, no number of casualties was reported;
- On December 15th shelters of PKK were targeted in Northern Iraq and 13 “separatist terrorists” were neutralized;
- Between December 15th and 16th, air operations in Northern Iraq’s Gara and Hakurk regions left shelters destroyed and 10 armed “separatist terrorists” neutralized;
- Furthermore, another reported claimed that air operations in the Gara and Hakurk regions on December 16th left 7 militants neutralized;
- On December 22nd, an air operation in the Qandil and Hakurk regions destroyed shelters and left 6 militants neutralized;
- On December 23rd, an airstrike targeted the Zap and Hakurk regions leaving 6 militants neutralized;
- On January 3rd, aerial operations in the Zap, Metina, Avaşin-Basyan and Gara regions militant facilities were destroyed, no casualties were reported;
- On January 5th, an airstrike in the north-Basyan region of Iraq destroyed shelters and neutralized 7 militants;
- Between January 10th – 11th, airstrikes in the Hakurk region destroyed shelters and left 5 militants neutralized;
- On January 11th, operations in the Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions left military facilities destroyed, no casualties were reported;
- On January 13th, airstrikes in the Zap and Sinat-Haftanin regions destroyed shelters and neutralized at least 3 militants;
- Finally, on January 20th, the airstrike on the Zap, Sinat-Haftanin and Hakruk regions which destroyed facilities and left at least 6 militants neutralized.