Turkey has continued its military offensive against the Kurdish PKK in northern Iraq. On 17 June 2020, Turkey said that it has airlifted troops into north Iraq for a cross-border ground operation against Turkey’s Kurdish rebels.
The Turkish Air Force attacked numerous positions of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party across the border. Combat aircraft and helicopters, artillery and armed and unarmed drones have been supporting the Turkish ground operations, according to a statement by the Turkish ministry of defence on Twitter.
“Our heroic commandos are in Haftanin! In order to neutralise PKK and other terrorist elements that threaten the security of our people and borders, our commandos, supported by the Air Force, fire support vehicles, ATAK helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAVs), arrived in the region with an air landing operation,” the ministry stated.
The airborne-and-land offensive into the border region of Haftanin, approximately 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the Turkey-Iraq border, was launched following intense Turkish artillery fire into the area.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Defense, there have recently been more and more attempts by the PKK to attack Turkish military outposts and bases near the border area.
On 14 June 20, Turkey’s combat aircraft carried out more than 80 air strikes in the region. This recent offensive is part of the “Claw Operations”, which Turkey had launched into the region against the PKK in May 2019.
The PKK has had a bloody struggle with the Turkish state for decades and used the inaccessible Kandil Mountains on the Iranian border and other regions in north Iraq as a retreat.
Turkey regularly carries out air and ground strikes against the outlawed PKK, which it says maintains bases in northern Iraq.