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Turkey launches new ground and air cross-border offensive in northern Iraq

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Turkey launches new ground and air cross border offensive in northern Iraq .

Turkey has launched a new ground and air cross-border offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Turkey’s defense minister declared early Monday.

Turkish jets and artillery struck targets belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and commando troops – supported by helicopters and drones – then crossed into the region via land or were airlifted by helicopters, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a video posted on the ministry’s website.

Akar said the planes effectively struck shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots, and headquarters belonging to the PKK. The group keeps up with bases in northern Iraq and has an involved the territory for attacks on Turkey.

Turkey has directed various cross-border aerial and ground operations against the PKK throughout the past decades. The most recent offensive was focused in northern Iraq’s Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan areas, Akar said.

“Our operation is continuing successfully, as planned. The targets that were set for the first phase have been achieved,” Akar said.

There was no data on the number of troops and planes engaged in the most recent attack.

“We are determined to save our noble nation from the terror misfortune that has plagued our country for 40 years,” Akar said. “Our struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized.”

The Defense Ministry said later that the offensive, named “Operation Claw Lock,” was launched after it was resolved that the militants were pulling together and getting ready for a “large-scale attack.”

The offensive was completed by collaborating with Turkey’s “friends and allies,” the ministry added, yet didn’t intricate. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region which controls the regions that were attacked.

The Turkish minister said the invasion was focusing on “terrorists” and that “maximum sensitivity” was being displayed to stay away from damage to civilians and cultural and religious structures.

There was no immediate statement from the Kurdish militant group.

A huge number of individuals have been killed since the PKK, which is assigned a fear-based oppressor association by the U.S. and the European Union, started a revolt in Turkey’s majority Kurdish southeast region in 1984.

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