Turkey launches operation in Northern Iraq

Turkish Armed Forces have launched a land operation into Northern Iraq’s Metina region on Friday night, Kurdish news agency Hawar reported.

Scout aircraft are also patrolling the area in the region across from Turkey’s Şırnak and Hakkari provinces, Hawar said, citing local sources.

The TAF had carried out airstrikes in the region earlier in the day, and dispatched troops via helicopter starting at 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT), local sources told Hawar.

Ground troops are supported by Turkish outposts shelling the area, the agency said.

Turkey continued air and land operations in Northern Iraq throughout the summer and winter against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group designated terrorist by Ankara that has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for some four decades.

The most recent operation into Northern Iraq was launched on Feb. 10, in the Gara region. Four days after the launch, 13 members of Turkey’s security forces who had been taken hostage by the PKK over a five year period were killed, in what Turkey said was a PKK execution. PKK denied the allegation, saying the men had died as a result of Turkish bombing in the mountainous area that the organisation used as a prison.