Turkey sent grounds troops into Iraq for the first time in more than two years Tuesday as soldiers pursue PKK terrorists across the border, a military source said.
Two special forces units consisting of 230 troops crossed into northern Iraq as F-4 and F-16 jets targeted six PKK bases in the area, the source said on condition of anonymity.
Initial reports suggested up to 40 PKK terrorists were killed in the operation.
The incursion was believed to be a short-term measure to track down those involved in an attack in Hakkari province on Sunday that saw 16 soldiers martyred in a roadside bombing – the deadliest attack since the PKK renewed its armed offensive at the end of July. The province borders both Iraq and Iran.
On Tuesday, another PKK attack killed 13 police officers in Igdir province.
Turkey has not sent troops into northern Iraq – where the PKK has numerous mountain bases – since before the “solution process” to end the 30-year Kurdish conflict was officially launched in early 2013.
The PKK – designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU – renewed its armed campaign against the Turkish state in the aftermath of the July 20 suicide bombing in Suruc that killed 33 pro-Kurdish activists.