June 8, 2019 - 16:20 AMT
Turkey says has "neutralized" 43 PKK members in northern Iraq

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday, June 8 a total of 43 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had been “neutralized” so far as part of an operation Ankara launched in northern Iraq 13 days ago, Reuters reports.

The Turkish military launched what it dubbed “Operation Claw” in northern Iraq’s Hakurk region, on June 27 with artillery and air strikes followed by operations by commando brigades.

The PKK militant group is based in northern Iraq, notably in the Qandil region to the south of Hakurk. Ankara said the operation aimed to destroy shelters and caves used by the PKK and “neutralize” its members - a term it commonly uses to refer to deaths, but also to those wounded or captured.

“43 PKK terrorists have been neutralized as part of Operation Claw, which has continued successfully for 13 days in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

It said 53 mines and improvised explosive devices had been destroyed and 74 caves and shelters used by the PKK were made unusable, adding that it had also seized weapons and ammunition belonging to the militants.