Two Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with the Kurdistan Workers Party, commonly known as the PKK, the Turkish defense ministry confirmed last week.
Turkish forces maintain several bases and observation posts in the semi-autonomous invaded Kurdish Region of Iraq, where one of two ruling parties, the Kurdish Democratic Party, maintains good relations with Ankara.
The KDP opposes the PKK, which is listed by the USA and EU as a terrorist organization, but has struggled to control the Kurdish nationalist group’s activities in mountainous areas near the Turkish border.
The Iraqi government objects to the presence of Turkish troops but has so far been unable to force them to withdraw despite diplomatic efforts.
The PKK is a Marxist Kurdish separatist organization that launched an armed insurgency against the Turkish government in the late 1970’s.
Since then, an estimated 40,000 people have been slaughtered in harsh government crackdowns, mostly Kurds in southern Turkey living along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
The PKK has also launched terrorist attacks in Turkey, killing civilians, including a British citizen in a 1994 attack at the coastal resort of Marmaris.
This year, Turkey has again attempted to clear the PKK from northern Iraq in a military offensive, Operation Claw-Lightning.
The offensive is being conducted in tandem with operations in parts of Kurdish majority northern Syria, which Turkish forces and allied Islamist mercenaries now occupy.
On July 24, two Turkish soldiers were killed near Al Bab in northern Syria after their armored vehicle was struck by an anti-tank missile, an attack claimed by the local Kurdish group the People’s Protection Units.
MENA / ABC Flash Point News 2021.