Turkey launched the anti-terror Operation Claw-Eagle 2 on Wednesday to prevent the PKK/KCK and other terror groups' efforts to re-establish positions that were used in the past to carry out terror attacks against Turkey.

The region was mostly cleared of the terror group during the
The region was mostly cleared of the terror group during the "extremely special and critical" operation in the Gara region, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday. (AA)

Thirteen Turkish citizens have been murdered by PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, and their bodies found in a cave by the country's armed forces during Operation Claw Eagle-2, which has now concluded.

"While our activities in the Operation Claw-Eagle 2 area were continuing, the mortal remains of 13 citizens who were detained in a cave, which was taken under control following the intense clash, were found,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said. 

Akar said one of the aims of the operation was to rescue the citizens from the cave, but unfortunately, the terrorists had already executed them. He added that all terrorists who were in the cave were killed.

Akar said following an evaluation, it was determined that the victims were executed by gunshot to the head.

The minister added that said three soldiers were also killed and three others were injured during the land operation.

Highlighting that the operation was successfully carried out in difficult land and climatic conditions, covering a very large area, he congratulated Turkish Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler and commanders.

Governor of Malatya province Aydin Barus said that 10 of the 13 people killed in Gara have been identified and that efforts are being made to identify the other three.

Operation Claw Eagle-2

The operation led to the death of 48 terrorists, including two senior members.

Two terrorists were captured and the region was mostly cleared of the PKK terror group during the "extremely special and critical" operation in the Gara region, Akar said.

"The operation has been completed. Our land and air elements returned to their bases and barracks safely," he said at the operations centre on the border in southeastern Sirnak province. 

READ MORE: Why Turkey is targeting PKK terrorists in northern Iraq

Turkey launched the operation on Wednesday in line with its right to self-defence, according to international law, to prevent the PKK/KCK and other terror groups' efforts to re-establish positions they had been using to carry out terror attacks against Turkey. 

Turkey's operations Claw Tiger and Claw Eagle were launched last June to ensure the safety of Turks and borders by eliminating the threat of the PKK and other terrorist groups that often use northern Iraq to plan cross-border attacks. 

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU - has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

International reaction

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev conveyed condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the attack, and noted in an official message: “We are extremely outraged by this horrific act of terrorism against civilians and strongly condemn all manifestations of terrorism.”

Somali Justice Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur offered condolences to Turkey, saying: “Just like Turkey, Somalia has been fighting terrorism for many years and has given hundreds of thousands of innocent victims to terrorism.”

“So, as a Somali, I deeply feel and share the pain of the Turkish nation,” he added.

“I was deeply saddened by the news that Turkish soldiers and civilians lost their lives in northern Iraq. I offer our condolences to Turkey and allies and to those affected at this difficult time,” said British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott on Twitter.

Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar, Prime Minister Ersan Saner and Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu also offered their condolences.

READ MORE: Turkey destroys 81 PKK targets during Operation Claw-Eagle in northern Iraq

Source: AA