Operation Claw-Tiger

Turkey has launched Operation Claw-Tiger against terrorists in northern Iraq, the National Defense Ministry announced early 17 June 2020. It was Turkey's first known air-and-land offensive in Iraq. The ministry said that Turkish commando forces were already in Iraq’s Haftanin region, adding the operation is taking place in order to neutralize the PKK and other terrorist elements that threaten the security of Turkish people and borders.

Turkish commandos supported by the Air Force, ATAK helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) have entered the region in an air attack operation. "Operation Claw-Tiger is being carried out as part of our legitimate defense rights arising from international law oriented against the PKK and other terrorist elements that have recently attempted increased harassment and attacks on our police station and base areas," the statement added.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Turkish Armed Forces Command were managing and dispatching the operation from the Army Command Control Center. The Turkish Armed Forces on the first day destroyed PKK targets in Haftanin region as part of Operation Claw-Tiger in northern Iraq. According to the security sources, Turkish forces hit over 150 targets of the PKK terror group in the region with howitzers and multiple rocket launchers.

Warplanes struck more than 150 Kurdish targets in northern Iraq's Haftanin region, 15km (9 miles) from the Turkish border, the defence ministry said. It was the second such operation launched against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in recent days. "Our heroic commandos are in Haftanin," the ministry said, dubbing the new operation "Claw-Tiger". "Our commandos - who are supported by combat helicopters and drones - have been transported by our air force."

"In order to neutralise the PKK and other terrorist elements threatening our people and our borders, our air force, along with fire-support equipment, helicopters and our commandos, supported by armed and unarmed drones, have mobilised to the region with air operations," the ministry said.

Following airstrikes, Turkish commandos also conducted an intruder mission in designated areas via land and air. "You have always shown the power of the Turkish commando, we believe that you will show it once again in those mountains today, and make history as you did before," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told the commanders of the troops.

Later in the day, the National Defense Ministry shared a video on its Twitter account showing the moments when the terror targets were destroyed. "As part of the Operation Claw-Tiger that started last night, Air Forces Command destroyed the terror targets in Haftanin region with precision strikes," it added.

The lack of Iraqi government response to the cross-border raid has been interpreted by some analysts as acquiescence to Turkey's offensive. The way some people interpret this is the Kurdish authorities have welcomed these operations because they don't really want the presence of the PKK fighters on their ground either.

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