Operation Claw

Turkey started a ground offensive and bombing campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), where the Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters reportedly struck targets in the mountains of northern Iraq. The PKK has been fighting in the insurgency in Turkey since 1984 and reportedly has rear bases in northern Iraq. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

The Turkish military routinely carries out airstrikes and artillery bombardments in Iraq’s Kurdistan region against suspected PKK targets, but their frequency increased since Ankara launched “Operation Claw” in May 2019, as have civilian casualties. The operation started on May 27 in northern Iraq's Hakurk region, targeting the PKK with artillery and air raids as well as ground operations by commando brigades. Turkey said Operation Claw aims to destroy shelters and caves used by the PKK, notably in the Qandil region to the south of Hakurk. Turkey has frequently launched air raids in the region but ground operations are rarer.

On the evening of July 12, a new operation named Claw-2 was launched with Commando Brigades in the north of Iraq to destroy caves and shelters used by terror organisation. This is a follow-up on the successfully ongoing Claw-1 operation in Hakurk area which revealed new information on terrorist activity. Operation continued as planned with the support of Air Force planes, ground fire support vehicles, ATAK helicopters and UAVs.

The Turkish military on 23 August 2019 launched what it described as the second stage of a campaign it has dubbed "Operation Claw" in northern Iraq. Turkey’s defense ministry said it had launched a third military operation against Kurdish militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan region. The ministry, in a statement 23 August 2019, announced the start of “Operation Claw-3” in Sinat-Haftanin region in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to the statement the operation was launched to facilitate border security, neutralize terrorists, destroy caves and shelters in Sinat-Haftanin in northern Iraq, according to the statement. Operation Claw 3 continues as planned with the support of Air Force planes, Army Aviation elements, howitzers, armed UAVs and UAVs, the statement added.

Turkish security forces neutralized one of the most-wanted PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, security sources said 07 October 2019. Ayfer Kordu -- one of the most wanted terrorists who was listed in the government's red category -- was neutralized in the Qandil region. The wanted list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red as the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray. Kordu was neutralized in a joint "pinpoint operation" by Turkish jets and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) on 13 September 2019, according to sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

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