Turkish warplanes destroyed at least 18 targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq over the weekend, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on March 11.
The strikes, carried out on March 10 and and 11, targeted the Hakurk, Zap, Metina, Gara and Avaşin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, Anadolu said, citing the Turkish military.
The General Staff statement said that the PKK militants were plotting an attack on the Turkish military and their bases in the region.
Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is based in the Qandil mountains.
Turkey and Iraq are in close talks for a potential joint struggle against the presence of the PKK in Iraqi territories, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on March 9, a day after Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that Iraq was the Turkish military’s next target after the ongoing Afrin operation.
“[Cross-border] operations will be conducted in northern Iraq when necessary. We are in close contact with the Iraqi government on this,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters on March 9.
Turkey and Iraq vowed in January to improve bilateral relations in all fields, including the economy, energy and security matters, Çavuşoğlu and his Iraqi counterpart, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, despite ongoing problems regarding water sharing and the continued presence of Turkish troops in the Bashiqa camp in Iraq.
Meanwhile, A total of 3,291 militants have been “neutralized” since the start of “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s northwestern Afrin district, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement on March 12.
The operation was launched on Jan. 20 to clear YPG militants from Afrin.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Meanwhile, military sources said on March 10 that a military truck rolled over in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, killing one soldier and injuring two.
The truck tumbled off a road in the Yayladağı district of Hatay due to unknown reasons, said military sources.
Three soldiers who were in the truck were taken in ambulances to the Yayladağı State Hospital, where one of them who was in critical condition died despite medical interventions.
The condition of the two other injured soldiers was reportedly stable.