July 27, 2019 / 11:00 AM / 2 months ago

Turkey says it 'neutralized' 34 PKK militants in air strikes on July 17-19

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday it had “neutralized” 34 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq in air strikes on July 17-19.

Sixteen militants were “neutralized” in air strikes on northern Iraq’s Qandil region on July 17, and 18 in air strikes on the Karacak region on July 19, it said. The ministry commonly uses the term “neutralized” to refer to those killed but it can also refer to those wounded or captured.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union, has waged an insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. It has fighters based in northern Iraq, mainly in the Qandil region.

The Defense Ministry said it had “neutralized” a total of 255 PKK militants in operations in northern Iraq since May 27, when Ankara launched an offensive there against the PKK.

Turkey frequently launches air strikes in the region but the latest campaign, dubbed “Operation Claw”, has included artillery fire and ground operations.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Mark Potter

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