Ankara's Defense Ministry has reportedly said that the Turkish airstrikes have hit the Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq neutralizing nine terrorists. The airstrikes took place in the Hakurk and Hafta regions. There were earlier strikes as well in the northern Iraq region of Gara, where three terrorists were neutralized. The strikes conducted by Turkey is said to be a part of regular raids against Kurdish militants in Iraq, however, they unrelated to planned operations against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
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. The PKK is also blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies. Turkey has also reportedly claimed that it will soon launch an offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, which are tied to the PKK.
In May when the Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters struck targets in the mountain of northern Iraq, the military had reportedly neutralized 19 Kurdish militants as its operation there entered the fourth day. The warplanes had also carried out strikes in border regions of northern Iraq west of Hakuruk, destroying PKK gun positions, shelters, and ammunition stores. During 'Operation Claw' two of the Turkish soldiers also died. The cross-border push began with artillery and air-strikes before the helicopters landed commandos in the region.
The PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been reportedly jailed on an island near Istanbul since 1999 was also allowed in May to meet his lawyer after a hunger strike by Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers and thousands of inmates. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union, and the United States.
(With inputs from agencies)