Five soldiers killed in Iraq offensive targeting PKK - Defence Ministry

Five Turkish soldiers were killed and three others injured in a clash with Kurdish rebels during Turkey’s latest offensive into northern Iraq, T24 news site reported on Tuesday, citing the country’s Defense Ministry.

On April 18, Turkey began Operation Claw-Lock in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, with Ankara launching an air and ground offensive targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish self-rule for 40 years.

The losses took place following clashes in the Zap region in northern Iraq on Tuesday, the Defence Ministry said. Wounded soldiers from the Turkish Armed Forces were rushed to nearby hospitals.

Turkey regularly launhces offensives targeting the PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the United States and the EU. However, they are growing more controversial in Iraq, and not just in areas administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The latest offensive arrived two days after a rare visit to Turkey by the prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, Masrour Barzani, suggesting that the KRG official had been briefed on Turkey’s plans

Erdoğan on Monday threatened to launch a new military operation in Syria to secure its frontier from threats from the Kurdish militia group, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, and Islamic State, Turkish media reported. Turkey views the YPG as a PKK offshoot– thus a threat to national security – and has conducted three campaigns into Syria to push the group south from the Turkish-Syrian border region. 

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