DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – Turkish troops have crossed the Kurdistan border following bombardments by Turkish warplanes and artillery against the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Friday night.
A Kurdish commander from the Iraqi border guards has told Rudaw that Turkish warplanes bombed a number of villages on the border with Turkey several times between 12:00 midnight until 3:00 in the morning on Saturday. It was followed by a Turkish military incursion.
The PKK-affiliated media ANF reported that the attack first began with warplanes at 8:00 o’clock Friday night and then the Turkish troops “violated” the Kurdistan Region border.
The PKK media reported that clashes erupted after the Turkish incursion and claimed that 14 Turkish soldiers were killed.
It said the clashes were ongoing as of Saturday morning.
Turkish troops entered the Kurdish territory from the border between Turkey’s Hakkari province and Kurdistan’s Duhok province.
The affected areas stretch between Duhok’s Amedi areas down to Zakho, located northwest of Erbil.
Rudaw's Nasr Ali reported from the border area that this is not the first such Turkish incursion. Ankara has put in place some permanent military outposts inside the Kurdish territory following similar military advances in the past.
The PKK has been engaged in a four-decade war against the Turkish state calling for greater national and cultural rights for millions of Kurds in Turkey.
The group is headquartered in Kurdistan’s Qandil Mountains and is engaged in cross-border warfare against Turkey. Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist group.
Turkey has frequently bombed PKK bases inside the Kurdistan Region after clashes resumed between Ankara and Kurdish fighters in July 2015.
Turkish warplanes bombed the Amedi region several times in April and May, killing one man, injuring a 35-year-old woman, and causing material damage.
The PKK has some 5,000 fighters mostly stationed in the remote bordering areas of the Kurdistan Region.
In other attempts to target PKK fighters in the Kurdistan Region, Turkish warplanes bombed Mount Shingal on April 25 where PKK-affiliated groups are based, killing a number of their fighters. The airstrikes also killed six Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers “by mistake.”