Three Turkish soldiers killed in operation against PKK in northeast of Duhok: ministry

File – Turkish soldiers are seen during an operation in Syria

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Three Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province on Wednesday, according to the ministry of defense.

On Wednesday, the Turkish military launched the second phase of “Operation Claw-Eagle” against the PKK fighters in areas near Gara Mountain, 50 km northeast of Duhok.

In a statement, the Turkish ministry of defense said late on Wednesday that two soldiers were killed and four others were wounded during the operation.

“The targets detected were hit with airstrikes and the presence of the terrorist organization in the region was dealt a heavy blow,” Turkish state news agency Anadolu cited the defense ministry as saying.

“The terror elements were targeted in Gara [region] to prevent them from re-establishing their positions used to carry out terror attacks against Turkey,” the ministry added.

In a separate statement on Thursday, the ministry said another hospitalized soldier succumbed to his injuries, bring the death toll to three.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Turkey “is determined to destroy terrorism at its root,” Daily Sabah reported.

The operation came after Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar paid a visit to Baghdad and Erbil in January.

“Cooperation and coordination against the PKK terrorist group play a very important role. We are ready for every possible coordination with Iraq,” Akar said.

Turkey has conducted numerous ground and aerial cross-border offensives into neighboring northern Iraq to attack PKK fighters, who maintains bases in the region.

Member of Duhok Provincial Council Imad Shukir said the Turkish military had set up 18 bases in the province.

“Their arrival to Gara Mountain and other areas is not a new incident. They are presence in those areas continuously,” Shukir told Esta Media Network.

*This story was updated at 01:59 p.m. EBL time 

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