Turkish military ‘neutralised’ 320 PKK militants in northern Iraq - Defence Ministry

Turkey’s armed forces have neutralised 320 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq since Operation Claw-Tiger was launched on June 16, the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

Turkish authorities use the term "neutralised" to mean the surrender or death of enemy combatants, members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in this instance.

“Our heroic commandoes, who inflicted great losses on the terrorist organisation PKK with the air and land operations, carried out intensive search and screening activities in the operation area they were transferred to with air-attack operations,” the ministry said in a statement on their website.

Turkish special forces successfully completed searching and screening activities after entering 269 shelters and 53 caves detected in Iraq’s Haftanin region, the ministry said, adding that all arms and ammunition found had been destroyed.

Turkey launched Operation Claw-Tiger on June 16, a cross-border ground offensive targeting the outlawed PKK in various regions of northern Iraq in response to an increase in attacks against Turkish military forces.

The operation has drawn criticism over the treatment of civilians, with several Christian villages evacuated and at least six Iraqi civilians killed in air strikes.

The PKK, designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state for four decades.

Turkey regularly targets the PKK in operations in northern Iraq and on home soil.