Turkish security forces killed seven armed terrorists in the country’s southeast and northern Iraq, the interior and defense ministries said Thursday.
In southeastern Turkey, three terrorists were killed by the provincial gendarmerie special operations forces in an air-backed anti-terror operation in the countryside of Adıyaman province, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The operation in the region is still underway, it added. Later in the day, one of the killed terrorists was identified as Mehmet Fatih Demir, code-named Mahsum, who was in the gray category of the Interior Ministry’s most wanted list with a TL 500,000 bounty on his head.
The Interior Ministry’s most wanted list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red indicating the greatest threat to Turkey’s national security, followed by blue, green, orange and gray.
Though the statement did not mention a specific terrorist group, Turkey has long been conducting operations against the PKK in the region.
Four other terrorists were killed in northern Iraq’s Hakurk, Zap and Haftanin regions, the Defense Ministry said.
Turkish security forces have been carrying out a series of successful counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq and Syria, targeting terrorists with Turkish-made armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The operations intensified after July 2018 and have since become routine.
Over 16,000 militants, including 242 senior terrorists, have been killed in these operations, which have also dealt a heavy blow to the PKK’s arms and ammunition supply and logistics network.
On July 13, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched Operation Claw-2 as a follow-up to the successful Claw-1. Like the first, the second operation was also launched in northern Iraq’s Hakurk region and aimed to continue to destroy weapon placements and shelters used by PKK terrorists.
A subsequent Operation Claw-3 was initiated on Aug. 23 in the Sinat-Haftanin region of northern Iraq. The operation was launched to facilitate border security, eliminate the presence of terrorists, and destroy caves and shelters harboring the group in the region.
Northern Iraq provides a base for the PKK terrorist group and is used by its members to plan cross-border terrorist attacks against Turkey.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.