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3rd Turkish Soldier Killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region

3rd Turkish Soldier Killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region

Monday, 29 June, 2020 - 08:15
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, fright wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, visits Turkish troops at the border with Iraq, in Hakkari province, Turkey, on Friday, June 19, 2020. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

A Turkish soldier died Sunday during the ongoing clashes with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq’s Kurdish region, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said.

The clashes are part of the “Operation Claw-Tiger,” which Turkish forces launched in northern Iraq on June 17, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry tweeted that Specialist Corporal Recep Yuksel was killed in a firefight with PKK members as part of the Operation Claw-Tiger’s mission area.

Yuksel was the third soldier to be killed in this offensive. The ministry announced on Saturday the death of its second soldier, adding that two PKK elements were neutralized in the clashes.

On June 20, it announced that a Turkish soldier in Haftanin was killed and four PKK elements neutralized in airstrikes on al-Zab province.

Turkish forces have carried out two separate operations in northern Iraq over the past two weeks, justified by “increased PKK attacks on Turkish army bases in the borders between the two countries.”

The first operation, dubbed Claw-Eagle, was launched on June 15, during which areas in northern Iraq were bombed by airstrikes and artillery.

Two days later, the second ongoing operation, called Claw-Tiger, kicked off with the participation of the Special Forces.

Ankara says there is no timeframe for the two operations, noting that they will continue until PKK capabilities are paralyzed and their locations and logistical capacities are destroyed.

Iraq rejects the Turkish operations in which many civilians have been killed.

The Iraqi presidency said the operations are in violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty, but Ankara says its military offensives are carried out in coordination with Baghdad authorities.

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