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Turkish military helicopter crashes in Iraq's northern Kurdish region, one killed

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)
In this file picture, a Turkish military helicopter is seen during a joint Turkey-US patrol mission in Syria. (Photo by Anadolu news agency)

At least one person has been killed and seven others were rescued after a Turkish military helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, as Ankara is involved in an ongoing military operation against purported positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in the Arab country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense said in statement on Monday that eight personnel were aboard when the Sikorsky helicopter made a hard landing.

The statement added that a search operation was underway for one personnel, identifying the deceased trooper as a specialist sergeant.

The incident stemmed from a technical glitch, and the aircraft was on a supply mission as part of the Operation Claw-Lock, the Turkish defense ministry noted.

Turkey launched Operation Claw-Lock in April to target the hideouts of PKK terrorists in Iraq’s northern Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan areas.

It was initiated after cross-border Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle to root out terrorists hiding in border areas close to Turkey and plotting attacks.

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

In response, the Turkish military has occupied areas in northern Iraq, where it regularly conducts attacks against purported PKK positions without the Arab country's consent. Baghdad has repeatedly condemned Ankara's ongoing military operations in northern Iraq.

Iraqi resistance groups have also time and again warned Turkey of the consequences of its incursions into their country.

Back in July, Turkey carried out a strike against the Iraqi hill village of Parakh in the Zakho district of Dohuk province, killing at least nine tourists, including children and women, and wounding more than 20 others.

Authorities in Iraq insist that the attack was carried out by Turkish forces and that they are responsible for the deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians, while Ankara says the country’s forces did not attack civilians.

In an interview with Iraq's al-Sumaria television network later in the day, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said, "If there is a problem between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), this problem should not be dragged into the Iraqi territory.”

“Some Iraqi military experts have proved that this attack was carried out by Turkey," he added.

However, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the following day that "according to the information we’ve received from the Turkish Air Force, we have not had any attacks on civilians [in Dohuk, Iraq]."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also rejected claims by the Iraqi authorities in a statement, and attributed the attack to members of the PKK terrorist group.


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