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Turkey’s military operations in northern Syria and Iraq come one after the other. They are also accompanied by grand claims of success.
The most recent ones, Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt, are taking place in Iraq. A total of 116 Kurdistan Workers’ Party fighters have been neutralized in the operation since April 24, according to Turkish Ministry of Defense claims.
A more significant success was shared by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – one of the PKK’s leaders for Syria was eliminated in the operations in Iraq.
Halef El Muhammed, better known as Sofi Nurettin, was one of the ringleaders of the organization and one of the most influential figures in the PKK’s organizational structure. His area of influence was mainly in Syria.
He was blamed for the execution of 13 individuals, including military and police officers, while the operation to free them failed in the Gara mountain in January. The hostages included 12 Turkish citizens and 1 Iraqi.
Erdogan reminded that the same fate would await “everyone” if they betray Turkey, harm the people or threaten Turkish integrity or statehood.
A response to the boasting came swiftly. A mysterious drone attacked an air base in the southern Turkish province of Diyarbakir, which is located near the border with Syria.
Turkey’s Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, claimed that the attack had foiled. According to him, the drones were shot down.
Local sources in Diyarbakir reported a number of explosions heard near the base. It is still unclear if the explosions were the result of a successful strike on the base or interceptions by Turkish air-defense.
The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack. It said it had carried out a “successful” action against Diyarbakir’s 8th Jet Base, adding that it “had a great impact and produced results” without providing any details.
The Turkish side gave contradictory reports, with the local governor saying there was only 1 drone and that it failed the attack, while the Interior Minister said there were 2 drones, and they again were unsuccessful.
In Syria, however, the Kurdish groups had a success when, on May 19, they attacked a position of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army near the town of Bosoufane in the southern part of occupied Afrin.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, five fighters of the SNA’s al-Sham Corps were killed during the raid. It is unclear which Kurdish group carried it out, but it was likely the Afrin Liberation Units.
Turkey’s operations are sure to continue in the future, alongside their great successes. At the same time, Kurdish response is certainly going to remain fierce.