Turkey Concludes Northern Iraq Operation, Claims 48 PKK Fighters Were ‘Neutralized’

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Turkey Concludes Northern Iraq Operation, Claims 48 PKK Fighters Were ‘Neutralized’

Turkish forces are seen at Mount Barsaya in northeast of Afrin, January 28, 2018 / Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

48 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including two commanders, were “neutralized” during the Turkish military’s recent operation in northern Iraq, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced on February 14.

The military operation, codenamed “Claw-Eagle 2,” targeted PKK cells in the Gara region. The operation was launched on February 10.

Akar claimed that most of the Gara region was cleared in the course of the “extremely special and critical” operation. According to the minister, two fighters of the Kurdish guerrilla group were also captured.

“The operation has been completed. Our land and air elements returned to their bases and barracks safely,” Akar said at the operations center on the border in southeastern Sirnak province, according to the Anadolu Agency.

During the campaign, more than 50 targets of the PKK, including ammunition depots, caves and bases in Gara were destroyed.

Turkish forces also retrieved the remains of 13 citizens who were abducted by PKK cells a while ago. According to Akar all the captives were executed by the Kurdish group. Only one of the captives was shot in the shoulder. The rest were all shot in the head.

“While our activities in the Operation Claw-Eagle 2 area were continuing, the mortal remains of 13 citizens who were detained in a cave, which was taken under control following the intense clash, were found,” said Akar. “All of the terrorists in the cave that martyred our citizens were neutralized.”

While the Turkish defense minister said that the slain captives were all civilians, several sources claimed that some of them were service members.

At least three Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with the PKK during Operation Claw-Eagle 2. More than four others were reportedly injured.

Turkey carried out many similar operations in northern Iraq in the last few years. Ankara always exaggerates the results of its operations against the PKK, which is still active in the region .

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