General

Türkiye neutralized over 1,400 terrorists in northern Iraq

After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that "a new security concept has been developed in the fight against terrorism," terrorist hideouts in northern Iraq were destroyed through successive operations.

The first of these operations, dubbed the "Claw series", was carried out three years ago.

The green light was given on May 27, 2019, for the operation which targeted the caves and shelters used by the PKK terrorist group in the Hakurk region.

After the identified terrorist targets were successfully taken under control, the new phase of the operation began.

Operation Claw-2 was launched to expand the actions against terrorist hideouts.

Turkish soldiers neutralized 126 terrorists in Operation Claw-1 and 102 terrorists in Operation Claw-2.

After the threat to the border security from Hakurk was significantly eliminated, the next target of the Turkish Armed Forces was the terrorist safe haven in the Sinat-Haftanin region.

Turkish National Defense Ministry announced on Aug. 24, 2019, that Operation Claw-3 has been launched in the Sinat-Haftanin region to further ensure border security and destroy caves and shelters belonging to terrorists.

The targets were destroyed one by one as part of the air-backed operation.

The total number of terrorists neutralized in Operation Claw-3 was 102.

- More anti-terror operations

On June 15, 2020, Operation Claw-Eagle was launched to target PKK terrorist bases in the regions of Sinjar, Karajak, Qandil, Zap, Avasin-Basyan and Hakurk.

Eighty-one targets consisting of shelters and caves belonging to the terrorists were destroyed in an air operation.

Immediately after the air operation, Turkish soldiers launched another operation to the north of Iraq to destroy more terrorist targets.

As part of Operation Claw-Tiger, commandos supported by the Air Force were transferred to Haftanin region.

- Aim is Gara

The commandos carried out a ground infiltration operation in the designated areas, while some commando units also landed in the region by helicopters.

As a result, a total of 228 terrorists were neutralized.

On Feb. 10, 2021, the Turkish Armed Forces once again carried out a major operation against terrorist targets.

Another air operation was launched after reports emerged that the terrorists were regrouping in some areas of northern Iraq.

As part of Operation Claw Eagle-2, air strikes targeted terrorists in the Gara region. After this, Turkish commandos landed in the area on helicopters.

The operation dealt a heavy blow to the terrorist group in the region, while 65 more terrorists were neutralized.

The National Defense Ministry announced that 176 terrorists were neutralized in Operation Pence-Simsek, and 211 terrorists were neutralized in Operation Pence-Yildirim.

- The ‘lock’ is closing

The operation then expanded to the Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions.

Turkish soldiers took control of Zap, a region of strategic importance for the PKK.

The operation was launched on April 17, 2022 in Zap, where terrorists were regrouping after fleeing from Hakurk and Metina regions.

This operation was dubbed Claw-Lock.

A large-scale air operation was conducted on the night of April 17 as part of Claw-Lock in a manner that respected Iraq's sovereign rights and territorial integrity.

- Turkish Armed Forces in Zap

After Turkish jets hit targets accurately, the land forces advanced into the region.

At the end of the operation, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced that 57 terrorists had been neutralized so far.

A large number of air operations were also conducted against terrorist targets in northern Iraq.

- Operation Claw-Sword

Over the weekend, terrorist targets were hit from the air under Operation Claw-Sword.

As part of the operation, Turkish jets pounded targets in Qandil, Asos, Hakurk in northern Iraq and Ayn al-Arab, Tal Rifat, Jazira and Derik regions in northern Syria.

In addition to combat and support aircraft, about 70 aircraft took part in Operation Claw-Sword, as well as drones.

Turkish jets also destroyed targets in Asos, 140 kilometers (nearly 87 miles) inside the border line, and Qandil, 90 kilometers (almost 56 miles) inside, in northern Iraq.

In the first phase of the operation, elements of the Air Force Command destroyed 81 targets.

The number of targets hit by the ongoing operation in the morning hours increased to 89.

In particular, the air operation aimed at 81 targets immediately after the Nov. 13 Istanbul bomb attack in which six people, two of them children, lost their lives and 81 others were injured.

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralized” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the terror group's Syrian offshoot.

Source: Anadolu Agency