Turkish soldier killed in operation against PKK in northern Iraq

A Turkish soldier was killed during Turkey’s newly launched cross-border operation in northern Iraq, the Defense Ministry said late Monday.

The ministry said in a statement that First Lt. Ömer Delibaş was injured in the Operation Claw-Lock area due to a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) that was placed by terrorists.

He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital despite all medical efforts, it added.

“Due to this incident that drowns us in deep pain and sorrow, we wish Allah’s mercy upon our heroic martyr and offer our condolences and patience to his precious family, the Turkish Armed Forces and the nation,” the ministry added.

The Turkish military launched a new ground and air counterterrorism operation against the PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the Defense Ministry announced Monday.

The new operation, called “Operation Claw-Lock,” targets the terrorists in the Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan regions.

The group maintains bases in northern Iraq and has used the territory for attacks on Turkey. Turkey has conducted numerous cross-border aerial and ground operations against the PKK over the past decades.

The new operation comes on the heels of Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle launched by the Turkish army in northern Iraq in 2020. Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle began in border regions of northern Iraq in 2020 to ensure the safety of the Turkish people and frontiers.

The PKK terrorist group often hides out in northern Iraq, just across Turkey’s southern border, to plot terrorist attacks in Turkey. The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq.

Turkey’s fight with the PKK and its affiliates in Syria and Iraq will continue, but foreign help is needed to cut the group off from all its financial resources, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday.

“We are determined to continue this struggle until terrorism ceases to be a threat to our country, our region and all of humanity,” Erdoğan said in the capital Ankara after an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner with a group of ambassadors for the holy month of Ramadan.

Turkey is waging a constant struggle against all forms of terrorism, regardless of who and where the source is, especially the PKK, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and Daesh, he added.

Addressing his remarks to foreign countries’ ambassadors, he stressed that Turkey expects strong support from all friendly countries, especially in cutting off terrorist groups’ financial resources.

“Terrorists and neo-Nazi organizations should also be prevented from exploiting the democratic system,” Erdoğan stressed.

“In particular, Islamic and xenophobic groups should not be given the opportunity to use freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as a means of insulting and attacking the beliefs or sacred places of worship of Muslims.”

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