Four PKK terrorists have surrendered to Turkish security forces as the dissolution of the terrorist group continues as a result of Türkiye’s intense counterterrorism operations.
The terrorists laid down their arms at the Turkish border post in Habur after fleeing the group’s shelters in northern Iraq, Türkiye’s National Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
“The only way out for terrorists is to surrender to Turkish justice,” it added.
With the latest additions, the number of terrorists who laid down their arms through persuasion efforts over the past 90 days reached 38, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya confirmed Thursday.
Ankara has launched a series of operations to root out terrorists hiding in northern Iraq and plotting cross-border attacks in Türkiye.
Türkiye has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terrorist threats against national security. It has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara has previously said it would not avoid targeting terrorist threats if the expected steps were not taken.
In the last two years, the intensifying operations in northern Iraq have demolished terrorist lairs in Metina, Avashin-Basyan, Zap and Gara. After eradicating the group’s influence in these regions, Türkiye also aims to clear Qandil, Sinjar and Makhmour.
The PKK’s leadership is struggling to recruit both militants and higher ranks, according to reports. Additionally, many terrorists are reluctant to enter Türkiye from Iraq to carry out attacks because of the high number of casualties.
In recent years, Türkiye has stepped up domestic operations and efforts across its borders against the terrorist group and convinced many members to abandon the PKK.
SNA thwarts YPG infiltration
Meanwhile, in northern Syria, where PKK is also active, its U.S.-backed local offshoot, the YPG, was stopped by the Syrian National Army (SNA) on Wednesday as terrorists tried to infiltrate the front lines.
YPG/PKK terrorists from the Manbij district in Aleppo province attempted to infiltrate the front lines in the Arap Hasan, Muhsenli and Halvanci regions to the south of Gandura village, which is part of the Cerablus district that was cleared of terrorism in the Euphrates Shield Operation.
Fighting erupted between terrorists and the soldiers, according to information Anadolu Agency (AA) obtained from military opposition sources.
Three SNA soldiers were wounded in the conflict.
The infiltration attempt was repelled, but the SNA targeted the organization’s positions in Manbij with gunfire.
The PKK/YPG often mounts attacks on Jarablus, Afrin and Azaz from Syria’s Manbij and Tal Rifaat areas. It has occupied the region since taking it over in a Russian air-backed offensive in February 2016.
Afrin was primarily cleared of YPG terrorists in 2018 through Türkiye’s counterterrorism offensive Operation Olive Branch, followed by Operation Peace Spring in 2019. The region was set on a normalization path by restoring several hospitals, schools and other vital facilities.
The PKK/YPG continues to target SNA forces and civilian settlements in Afrin and Azaz from positions in Tal Rifaat despite a Türkiye-Russia deal that calls for the group’s withdrawal from the area. Its attacks have displaced nearly 250,000 civilians, who were forced to seek refuge near the border with Türkiye.
Locals living in areas held by the PKK/YPG have long suffered from its atrocities, as the terrorist organization has a notorious record of human rights abuses, ranging from kidnappings, recruitment of child soldiers, torture, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement in Syria.
Despite Ankara’s documentation of the fact that the YPG and PKK are, in actuality, the same terrorist group, Washington has consistently provided military and tactical support to the YPG, inadvertently helping it gain a foothold in Syria’s northeast under the pretext of fighting Daesh, another terrorist group. The issue remains a significant source of strain between the NATO allies.