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Turkey says airstrikes ‘neutralized’ 19 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows a Turkish warplane.

Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters have “neutralized” 19 PKK militants in a string of airstrikes targeting their hideouts in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Anadolu news agency reports. 

The Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed, captured or wounded.

“Four more PKK terrorists have been neutralized as part of ongoing Operation Claw in Hakurk region of northern Iraq," the state news agency quoted the National Defense Ministry as saying Thursday.

"Therefore, the number of terrorists neutralized so far as part of the operation has risen to 19” during the past four days, it added.

Turkish jets also destroyed weapon pits, shelters and ammunition stores used by PKK militants in the Avasin-Basyan and Metina regions of northern Iraq as part of the cross-border push, which commenced on Monday.

The Turkish air force has been carrying out operations against the PKK in Turkey’s troubled southeastern border region as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Turkey, along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.

The PKK accepted a shaky ceasefire with Ankara, but the truce collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have continued since then.

More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the militant group.

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