At least three Turkish soldiers killed in northern Iraq

At least three Turkish soldiers killed in northern Iraq

At least three Turkish soldiers serving in northern Iraq as part of the illegal Turkish military presence there aimed at Kurdish militants, were killed on Tuesday, the Defence Ministry announced.

Another four soldiers were wounded during the fighting, in the offensive named Operation Claw Lock launched in in northern Iraq, the ministry statement said.

Turkey’s official news agency Anadolu said the Turkish soldiers had clashed with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara and its western allies say is a terrorist organisation.

The PKK has training camps and bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, and has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, a conflict that has killed 40,000 people, many of them civilians.

Ankara has launched a series of operations against PKK fighters in Iraq and Syria, the latest one in northern Iraq beginning in April. This operation has been taking place without permission of the Iraqi government, and is as such a violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey would soon launch a new military operation into northern Syria, which he said was designed to create a 30-kilometer (19-mile) “security zone” along their border.

Since 2016, Turkey has also launched three offensives into northern Syria against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian-Kurdish group it considers to be part of the PKK. This operation too has been taking place without permission from Damascus.

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