Turkey has announced the execution of overnight air strikes aimed at Kurdish militants in both northern Iraq and Syria. This development follows a clash between Turkish soldiers and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish soldiers last Friday.
The Turkish defence ministry reported that the air strikes focused on northern Syria and the Metina, Gara, Hakurk, and Qandil regions of northern Iraq. The strikes reportedly destroyed 23 targets, including caves, shelters, tunnels, ammunition warehouses, and other facilities utilized by the PKK. The ministry asserted that numerous militants were “neutralized,” a term commonly used to denote their elimination.
The PKK, designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, initiated armed resistance against the Turkish state in 1984. The conflict, which has claimed over 40,000 lives, initially unfolded in rural areas of southeastern Turkey before shifting to the mountainous terrain of northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya took to the social media platform X to announce that counter-terrorism police had detained 165 individuals across 28 Turkish provinces. The operations specifically targeted those suspected of having affiliations with the militant group, providing support, or disseminating what Yerlikaya referred to as PKK propaganda.
The conflict’s dynamics are evolving, with the focus now directed towards the mountainous regions of northern Iraq’s Kurdistan. Concurrently, Iranian state media reported an attack by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on what they identified as the “spy headquarters” of Israel in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The Revolutionary Guards framed these actions as defensive measures to protect Iran’s sovereignty, and security, and counter terrorism.
In addition to these developments, reports emerged of Turkey conducting a series of air strikes on electricity and oil infrastructure in Syria’s Kurdish-held northeast. The strikes reportedly disabled several power stations. Turkey’s history of military interventions and bombing campaigns in Syria, particularly against the Kurdish YPG militia, considered a branch of the PKK, adds a complex layer to the situation.
In response to the killing of Turkish soldiers on Friday, Turkish authorities announced the detention of 18 individuals for “praising terrorism.” Simultaneously, a high-ranking PKK member was reported to be “neutralized” in northern Iraq. The PKK, known for its reluctance to confirm attacks against it, has not issued an immediate response.