Turkey says first phase of Operation Claw Lock concluded

The Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, said on Monday, April 25, the first phase of the country’s cross-border Operation Claw Lock against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has come to an end.

Akar claimed Turkish forces killed 56 PKK members in the operation that was launched on Monday and 991 "terrorists” have been killed in the Kurdistan Region and Syria this year, according to Anadolu Agency. Turkey considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization and views the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as an affiliate of the group.

The People’s Defense Forces (HPG), the military wing of the PKK, said in a statement posted by Firat News Agency that 218 Turkish soldiers were killed in the operation since April 17 and that Turkey carried out 387 air strikes by fighter jets.

The operation’s main target was the Zap region, 30 km into the Kurdistan Region from Turkey’s border, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Monday three PKK members were killed in the southeast province of Sirnak as part of Operation Eren Blockade-5, which was conducted by special forces and gendarmerie teams, and was supported by drones, Anadolu said.

Hulusi Akar will join a meeting with defense ministers from 30 countries to discuss Ukraine at NATO’s Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Tuesday, according to Anadolu.

Akar posted a statement on Twitter on Monday commemorating "Turks massacred by the Armenians in 1915” a day after April 24, the day traditionally used to mark the beginning of the Armenian genocide.

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