Turkish forces have killed one of the most wanted members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group during a counter-terrorism operation in Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
A security source, requesting not to be named, said on Monday that Musluh Ike, better known by the nom de guerre Tekoser Zagros, was “neutralized” in a a joint precision operation by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in Metina region of northern Iraq.
The Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that the militants were killed, captured or surrendered.
Ike was reportedly in charge of Metina region. He joined the PKK in the 1990s, and was the mastermind of many acts of terror in the Semdinli and Cukurca districts of Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari.
PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
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.