Turkish warplanes, helicopters and drones targeted Kurdish terrorist bases, camps, tunnels, shelters and ammunition storage areas in northern Iraq, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
The operation, which Akar targeted the Matina, Jap and Awasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, also involved commandos who “entered the region by infiltrating from the ground,” he was quoted as saying.
“So far, our operation continues successfully as planned. The targets identified in the first phase have been captured,” he said, but did not give any information about casualties as a result of the operation.
The operation, which he dubbed “Operation Claw Lock”, aimed to “prevent terrorist attacks” and “ensure our border security”. He said it was also supported by artillery units.
The offensive is part of an ongoing Turkish campaign in Iraq and Syria against militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, both of which Ankara regards as a terrorist group.
Turkey regularly conducts air strikes in northern Iraq and sends commandos to the region to support its offensives.
The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which in the past was mainly concentrated in southeast Turkey.
Turkish officials say privately that they believe Baghdad is on their side in fighting the PKK, which has also been designated a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.