0205 GMT July 18, 2019
“Forty-three PKK terrorists have been neutralized as part of Operation Claw, which has continued successfully for 13 days in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq,” the Turkish Defense Ministry announced in a statement published on its official Twitter page on Saturday, Presstv Reported.
Irak kuzeyi Hakurk bölgesinde 13 gündür başarılı şekilde devam eden Pençe Harekâtı’nda toplam 43 PKK’lı terörist etkisiz hale getirilmiş, 53 Mayın/EYP imha edilmiş, örgüte ait 74 mağara ve sığınak da kullanılamaz hale getirilmiştir.#MSB #PençeHarekatı https://t.co/5j5oFgaK3s pic.twitter.com/D7wV2fUvnA— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) June 8, 2019
The statement added that 53 mines and improvised explosive devices had been destroyed, and 74 caves and shelters used by the PKK were made unusable as well.
The ministry further noted that Turkish forces had also seized weapons and ammunition belonging to the militants.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said the operation would continue in the region until “the last terrorist is neutralized.”
PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
Turkey, along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.
More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.