Five Turkish soldiers were killed in a clash with militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Türkiye’s defense ministry said on Thursday.
The conflict took place in Zap region, where Türkiye has been carrying out a cross-border operation called “Claw-Lock”.
Ankara says the offensive is a measure to prevent the PKK from using Iraq as a base to carry out attacks in Türkiye.
A Turkish defense ministry official said all five soldiers were killed in the first round of fire by the PKK militants while they were conducting search and scan activity on the field.
The PKK has large fortifications around the region, where “the terrain is very tough,” but the region will be “cleared up from terrorists” despite attacks, the official added.
The PKK, which has bases around northern Iraq, is designated a terrorist group by Türkiye, the United States and European Union. The group launched an insurgency in southeast Türkiye in 1984 in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.
As part of the “Operation Claw-Lock,” which was launched in April 2022, 586 militants have been “neutralized” to date, Turkish defense ministry also said.
“Neutralized” is commonly used by the Turkish military to mean killed.