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Security forces neutralize 'wanted' PKK terrorist in southeastern Turkey

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)
Slain PKK terrorist Yusuf Kayran, better known by the nom de guerre Zinar Akro (Photo by Turkish-language Hurriyet daily newspaper)

Turkish security forces have killed a prominent member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group during a counter-terrorism operation in the country’s Kurdish-populated southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

The Turkish Interior Ministry, in a post published on its official Twitter page, announced that Yusuf Kayran, better known by the nom de guerre Zinar Akro, was “neutralized” during an offensive in the province on Monday. He was among the five Kurdish militants slain in the operation.

The statement added that Kayran was on the gray category of the terror blacklist. The militant had a bounty of 300,000 Turkish lira ($51,000) on his head.

The Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that the militants were killed, captured or surrendered.

The development came only a day after the Turkish Defense Ministry stated that Turkish military forces had “neutralized” 43 PKK militants following a string of artillery and airstrikes followed by operations by commando brigades in Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The statement added that 53 mines and improvised explosive devices had been destroyed as part of Operation Claw, which has continued successfully for the past two weeks in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq, and 74 caves and shelters used by the PKK were made unusable as well.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said the operation would continue in the region until “the last terrorist is neutralized.”

PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

In this file picture, members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group stand in formation in northern Iraq. (Photo by Reuters)

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.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.

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

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