At least four Turkish soldiers were killed after they engaged in fierce exchanges of gunfire with members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement late on Sunday that Infantry Specialist Sergeant Harun Yıldırım and Infantry Specialist Sergeant Savaş Borlu were killed during clashes with the Kurdish militants in the Operation Claw-Lock zone.
The ministry later said that two of the four injured soldiers, Command Sergeant Major Gökhan Ağıl and Infantry Specialist Sergeant Fatih Kalkan, succumbed to their wounds in the hospital.
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 and plotting attacks in border areas close to Turkey.
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 there.
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 say 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.