Ankara has begun a major cross-border military offensive, targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in the northern part of Iraq, according to Turkey’s Defense Ministry.
The operation involves an extensive airstrike campaign using jets, helicopters and drones, as well as a ground incursion by commando troops, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced in a video address on Monday morning.
Ankara claims it successfully destroyed multiple bunkers, tunnels and ammunition depots, as well as military headquarters of the PKK in northern Iraq’s border areas of Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan, before its ground forces moved into the neighboring state. It is unclear how many troops and military hardware are involved in the operation.
“Our operation is continuing successfully, as planned. The targets that were set for the first phase have been achieved,” Akar said, as cited by AP.
Turkish forces are only targeting “terrorists,” taking extra precautions to avoid the loss of civilian lives and damage to cultural heritage, the minister claimed.
“Our struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized,” he said. “We are determined to save our noble nation from the terror misfortune that has plagued our country for 40 years.”