Turkish military leaders say their forces have mounted a cross-border operation to tackle a group of up to 60 Kurdish militants. But it is not clear whether it was a ground or aerial strike aimed at destroying bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK. A spokesman for the Iraqi Kurdish leadership denied there had been an incursion by Turkish troops. The US military says it is unaware of any cross-border operation.
The reported military action comes a day after the government authorised troops to cross the frontier. On its website, the Turkish army said a group of 50 to 60 PKK rebels had been spotted inside Iraq’s borders. It said what it described as “an intense intervention”, adding that “the terrorist group had suffered heavy casualties.”
The PKK, which is also branded a terrorist group by the US and the EU, has been using northern Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkey. Washington and Baghdad have repeatedly warned Turkey against cross-border operations saying they could destabilise a relatively peaceful part of Iraq.