Victims after the Turkish air raids against the PKK: Iraqi Kurds

Arbil, Iraq: Turkey carried out airstrikes in northern Iraq on Tuesday against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebel positions, causing casualties, authorities in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan said.

“Turkish fighter planes targeted several positions of Kurdistan Workers’ Party fighters”, particularly in the Makhmur and Sinjar regions, the Kurdish anti-terrorist services said in a statement.

“Turkish military aircraft bombed six PKK positions in the Karjokh mountains,” the statement said.

He also referred to strikes on two positions in the Sinjar Mountains and an adjacent area in neighboring Syria, as well as two raids in the Shila region near Iraq’s border with Syria.

“According to information, the shelling caused human and material losses,” the statement said, without specifying the number of dead or injured.

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to “cleanse” parts of northern Iraq, accuses the PKK of using the mountainous border area as a springboard for its insurrection.

Turkish forces regularly carry out military strikes against PKK hideouts in the region, causing strain in its relationship with the Iraqi central government in Baghdad.

In December, the Turkish Defense Ministry said three Turkish soldiers died in a PKK attack in northern Iraq, prompting a retaliatory airstrike at the time.

Turkey launched its last major air and ground offensive in April last year, targeting rear bases Kurdish militants have used to wage their decades-long insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Turkey also has a military presence in neighboring Syria, where it has seized swaths of territory in successive military operations since 2016 that have mainly targeted another Kurdish rebel group.

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