Türkiye nabs terrorist instructed by PKK’s Syrian leg in its southeast

A PKK/YPG terrorist, along with his three accomplices, was captured in an operation in Türkiye’s southeastern Şanlıurfa province on Sunday as he illegally crossed from the neighboring Ain al-Arab (also known as Kobani) district in northern Syria, the city police announced.

The terrorist confessed during his questioning that he was moving with orders from the terrorist group’s so-called Syrian headquarters to act in Türkiye, Şanlıurfa Provincial Directorate of Intelligence and Counterterrorism Units informed. He was caught while trying to illegally enter the city’s Suruç district neighboring Syria’s Ain al-Arab.

Three others who were helping him were also captured, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Türkiye has been conducting an air operation against the PKK and its offshoot YPG in northern parts of Syria and Iraq following last Sunday’s terrorist attack on Istanbul’s bustling Istiklal Street that killed at least six and left 81 injured for which Ankara said the PKK was responsible.

The Defense Ministry reported early on Sunday that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched an aerial counteroffensive called Operation Claw-Sword to target terrorist hideouts and bases across its border.

It announced the operation via Twitter with an image of a Turkish warplane taking off and said: “Time for reckoning! The scoundrels are being held accountable for the treacherous attacks!”

At least 89 YPG/PKK terror targets were hit during air raids, the ministry said later in the day.

“With the Operation Claw-Sword, 89 terror targets, 81 targets in the first stage and eight others this morning, including shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots, and so-called headquarters and training camps belonging to terrorists, who threaten our country, nation and border security, were destroyed,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry noted Türkiye carried out a “successful operation” in the Qandil, Asos and Hakurk regions of northern Iraq and Arab Spring, Tal Rifaat, Jazira and Derik regions of northern Syria.

“Among the terrorists neutralized in the air operation were the so-called leaders of the terrorist organization,” the ministry added.

The operation was carried out to eliminate the terrorist attacks against Turkish people and security forces from the northern areas of Iraq and Syria, and to ensure Türkiye’s border security, the ministry said.

Türkiye will continue the fight against terrorism for the security of the country and nation with determination until the last terrorist is eliminated, the ministry stressed.

The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the United States, Türkiye and the European Union. Its subsidiary YPG has controlled much of northeastern Syria after the forces of Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad withdrew in 2012.

Ankara has launched several cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and controls some territories in the north with the goal of pushing away the YPG and establishing a 30-kilometer-deep (18.64-mile-deep) safe zone. Since 2016, Türkiye has led a trio of successful counterterrorism operations across its border into the region to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

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