ANKARA, TR – The Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed a series of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Saturday, following an attack on a Turkish military base in Iraq that resulted in the death of nine soldiers. The airstrikes targeted Kurdish militant bases in northern Iraq, specifically in Metina, Hakurk, Gara and Qandil.
In a statement, the defense ministry detailed the destruction of caves, bunkers, shelters, and oil facilities, all aimed to thwart potential terrorist attacks against Turkish citizens and security forces. The ministry did not disclose any specific strikes in Syria.
These airstrikes were directed at the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group that operates out of northern Iraq. The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and several European countries that are allies of Turkey.
Local news outlets reported that the airstrikes were conducted in a different region from where the military base was attacked on Friday. The Iraqi news website, Rudaw, stated that the attacked base was situated on Mount Zap in the Amedi district, which is about 10 miles from the Turkish border.
Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu, reported the neutralization of a senior PKK militant in Iraq, approximately 100 miles within the Turkey-Iraq border. The Defense Ministry also confirmed the death of five soldiers during Friday night’s attack on the military base in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Four more soldiers succumbed to their injuries later, and fifteen militants were killed during the assault.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan expressed his condolences over the deaths of the soldiers on social media platform X, vowing to continue the fight against the PKK both within and outside Turkey’s borders.
Previously, PKK-affiliated militants attempted to infiltrate a Turkish base in northern Iraq, resulting in the death of six soldiers. The subsequent day, six more soldiers were killed in ensuing clashes. The Turkish military retaliated with airstrikes and land assaults, killing dozens of Kurdish militants, according to Defense Minister Yasar Guler.
Tensions in the Middle East have been on the rise since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war in October.