ADDS LATEST STATEMENT FROM DEFENSE MINISTRY
By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has launched Operation Claw-Tiger against terrorists in northern Iraq, the National Defense Ministry announced early Wednesday.
The ministry said on Twitter that Turkish commando forces are already in Iraq’s Haftanin region, adding the operation is taking place in order to neutralize the PKK and other terrorist elements that threaten the security of Turkish people and borders.
Turkish commandos supported by the Air Force, ATAK helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) have entered the region in an air attack operation.
"#Operation Claw-Tiger is being carried out as part of our legitimate defense rights arising from international law oriented against the PKK and other terrorist elements that have recently attempted increased harassment and attacks on our police station and base areas," the statement added.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Turkish Armed Forces Command are managing and dispatching the operation from the Army Command Control Center.
The ministry also shared initial scenes of the operation in a video.
On Monday, the ministry announced the start of Operation Claw-Eagle in northern Iraq, noting that Turkish fighter jets had destroyed caves where terrorists were taking shelter and the caves had collapsed on them.
The operation was being carried out against terrorist bases in Sinjar, Qandil, Karacak, Zap, Avasin-Basyan and Hakurk.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.