Turkish warplanes strike PKK targets in northern Iraq
Turkish fighter jets have carried out air strikes on two targets in northern Iraq in an ongoing campaign to counter terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members hiding in camps there, the Turkish military said on Sunday, Today's Zaman reported.
The statement the General Staff posted online early on Sunday said Turkish Air Force jets "successfully" hit a PKK cave and shelter in the Zap and Hakurk regions of northern Iraq on Saturday night. The statement also said the operations were carried out based on intelligence and target analysis in the region. "Our jets, which successfully completed their mission, safely returned to their bases," the statement added.
Turkey has been conducting air raids against PKK camps hidden in Iraq's northern mountains since August of last year following the breakdown of a cease-fire and an increase in attacks on Turkish troops and civilians by the PKK.
PKK members have long used northern Iraq as a springboard for hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets. This year, Turkey's air force launched dozens of air raids on suspected PKK bases and other targets in northern Iraq and along the Turkish side of the mountainous border.
In December, warplanes targeted smugglers mistaken for PKK members, killing 34 civilians. The incident saw the highest civilian death toll in a day during Turkey's 27-year drive against the PKK. The attack sparked demonstrations across Turkey.
The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's largely Kurdish Southeast since 1984. The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The group is labeled a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, which has supplied Predator drones to Turkey to assist its fight.