The Turkish military carried out airstrikes targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group’s positions in northern Iraq and its Syrian branch, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), in northern Syria, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry announced early Wednesday.
A Turkish Defense Ministry statement said Operation “Winter Eagle” hit targets in the Sinjar Mountains and in the Karacak region in northern Iraq, and the Derik region in northern Syria during a new aerial operation aimed to protect Turkey’s borders from terrorist threats.
The targets included shelters, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots, bases and training camps.
Operation Winter Eagle was launched in accordance with international law, specifically Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and United Nations Security Council resolutions on the fight against terrorism, the ministry said.
The strikes aimed to “eliminate terrorist attacks against our people and security forces from the north of Iraq and Syria and to ensure our border security,” the statement clarified. It noted that efforts to fight against terrorism will decisively continue “until the last terrorist is neutralized.”
No casualties were immediately reported.
The ministry said “utmost sensitivity was shown” regarding the security of the civilians during the operations.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday that the operation had been successful and that “many terrorists” were killed.
The minister said many wanted terrorists, including senior figures, were killed in the operation.
The airstrikes are part of an ongoing Turkish campaign in Iraq and Syria against PKK terrorists and its Syrian branch YPG. Turkish forces have carried out similar cross-border operations in the past and routinely conduct military strikes against suspected PKK hideouts in the area.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terrorism operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents: namely Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.