Turkey’s Armed Forces on Thursday, Oct 20 launched a broad land assault into Northern Iraq to attack bases of the outlawed Kurdish Worker’s Party, or PKK, in a major escalation of a long-running conflict.
Twenty-two battalions were involved in a “large scale” operation targeting five areas in Iraq and Turkey, a statement on the website of the general staff of the military said. A Turkish defense ministry official said the force amounted to some 9,000-10,000 troops.
The cross-border operation followed one of the deadliest attacks the PKK has carried out in almost three decades of fighting, first for a separate Kurdish state and more recently for greater autonomy and language rights.
The general staff statement confirmed that PKK attack early Wednesday on eight locations in Hakkari province, where Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran meet, had left 24 soldiers dead and 18 wounded, four of them seriously, The Wall Street Journal reported.