Operation Claw-Eagle is an ongoing Turkish Armed Forces external operation in Iraq. The attacks have taken place in the Qandil Mountains, the Sinjar District, and Makhmur, ostensibly against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets, as part of continuing Kurdish-Turkish and Kurdish-Iranian conflicts. The air operation began on 15 June 2020. Turkey then launched Operation Claw-Tiger, the land operation complementary to Claw-Eagle.
Turkish warplanes have struck more than 80 Kurdish targets in northern Iraq in response to an increase in attacks on Turkish army bases, the defence ministry said on Monday.
“The Claw-Eagle Operation has started. Our planes are bringing the caves down on the terrorists’ heads,” the defence ministry said.
Turkey regularly targets PKK fighters, both in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast and in northern Iraq, where the group is based. There was no immediate statement from the PKK.
Along with the fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, and refueling aircraft also took part in the operation, the military said.
“Turkey’s armed forces hit separate targets simultaneously this time, the logistics lines run through this area. According to Turkey’s defence ministry, some of the strikes were called off at the last minute over concerns of civilian casualties,” she said.
Turkey airlifted commandos into northern Iraq, stepping up its military drive against autonomy-seeking Kurdish militants after its parliament kicked out two pro-Kurdish lawmakers on separatism charges.
The incursion, announced early Wednesday, comes two days after the Turkish air force conducted one of its biggest airstrikes against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq.
The Turkish defence ministry said “commandos” moved in, supported by drones and helicopters, following a bombardment with rocket launchers and artillery guns that hit more than 150 targets.
The semi-autonomous Kurdish authorities which govern the area have kept mum on the vast operation which began early Wednesday despite protestations from Baghdad.
What are the PKK’s ties to Iraq? –
The PKK has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, demanding autonomy for Kurds living in the country’s southeast and in other parts of the Middle East.
PKK rebels use the rugged mountains of neighbouring northern Iraq as a rear base, to the discomfort of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq (KRG).
“The PKK is considered an enemy by Iraqi Kurdistan’s autonomous authorities because it presents itself as the sole representative of the Kurdish question,” said Adel Bakawan, an expert in regional Kurdish affairs.
It is seen as a rival by both the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), whose stronghold is the regional capital Arbil, as well as the competing Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which is strongest in the northeastern city of Sulaimaniyah.