Operation Claw (2019)

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Operation Claw (2019)
Part of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present)
Date28 May 2019 – 14 June 2020
Location
Result
  • Turkish Army sets up three new bases deep in Hakurk region & establishes a dozen observation points
  • HPG members leave their positions & take refuge in PJAK camps in Iran (Makü Dambat region)
  • Start of Operation Claw-Eagle Iraq
Territorial
changes
Turkish Armed Forces seized strategic hills, mountains, crossing points, highland villages in Hakurk, Metina and Zap regions. New bases established at crossing roads.[citation needed]
Belligerents
 Turkey Kurdistan Workers' Party
Commanders and leaders
Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Turkey Hulusi Akar
Turkey Yaşar Güler
Unknown
Units involved

Turkish Armed Forces

Gendarmerie General Command

KCK

HBDH TAK

BÖG
Casualties and losses
17 killed (per Turkey)[3] 417 killed or captured (per Turkey)[4]

Operation Claw (Turkish: Pençe Harekatı) is an ongoing cross-border military operation by the Turkish Armed Forces into Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Region against the Kurdistan Workers' Party.[5] Turkish troops fired artillery shells and launched air attacks in the morning of 28 May 2019, followed by a border crossing by the Turkish Army and Gendarmerie Special Public Security Command.[6] On May 30, 2019, the first Turkish losses were recorded: one specialist sergeant and one second lieutenant were killed in action.[7] On 31 May 2019, F16 jets of the 181st Squadron "Leopard" hit PKK targets in the autonomous region.[8] In late June, press sources reported that the Turkish military combat-tested the Bora ballistic missile during Operation Claw in Kurdistan Region.[9] In July, the ground operation slowed and only airstrikes were carried out in the Avasin-Basyan, Zap, Metina, Haftanin and Hakurk regions. 182nd Squadron "Accipiter", 181st Squadron "Leopard" and 14th UAV Systems Base Command participated in the operation.[10] On 13 July, Turkey launched counter-terror Operation Claw-2 in N.Iraq[11] On 24 August, Operation Claw 3 was launched in northern Iraq.[12] On 3 September 2019, a senior PKK leader was killed in the region. Nedim Karakulak codenamed Kawa Garzan was in charge of the PKK's logistical support around the Qandil and Hakurk regions.[13]

Operation timeline[edit]

2019[edit]

Operation Claw 1

May[edit]

  • 12 May: A failed PKK ambush resulted in the deaths of two militants bringing the PKK death toll to 45. Weapons and head cameras were seized.[14]
  • 28 May: Turkey launches a counter-terror operation in Kurdistan Region.[15]
  • 29 May: Turkish Defense Ministry states that 15 militants killed or captured in northern Iraq's Hakurk area since operation.[16]
  • 30 May: The PKK suffers four more casualties.[17] The first Turkish losses were recorded: one specialist sergeant and one second lieutenant killed in action.[7]
  • 31 May: Turkish jets hit PKK targets in the region.[8]

June[edit]

  • 1 June: Three PKK militants killed or captured.[18]
  • 2 June: PKK suffers another five casualties.[19]
  • 3 June: At least six PKK militants killed or captured in the Zap region.[20]
  • 4 June – 9 June: Turkish defense ministry states a total of 43 militants have been killed or captured in 'Operation Claw' since 28 May. It was reported that an Underwater Defence unit of the TAF operates in the area.[21]
  • 6 June: The Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar states: "We will not leave the region until the last terrorist is neutralized."[22]
  • 10 June: A total of 74 shelters caves and 53 mines used by PKK militants in the Hakurk region were destroyed, according to the ministry.[23]
  • 26 June: The Bayraktar Tactical UAS and TAI Anka operates in Kurdistan Region, constantly launching airstrikes on PKK militants.[24]
  • 28 June: The ministry states a total of 112 militants have been killed or captured in Kurdistan Region during the last month.[25]
  • Late June 2019: Press sources report that the Turkish military combat-tested the Bora ballistic missile during Operation Claw in Kurdistan Region.[9]

July[edit]

In July, the ground operation slowed and only airstrikes were carried out. 182nd Squadron "Accipiter", 181st Squadron "Leopard" and 14th UAV Systems Base Command participate in operations.[10]

Operation Claw 2
  • 13 July: Turkey launches counter-terror Operation Claw-2 in Kurdistan Region.[11]
  • 18 July: One TAF soldier was killed and six were wounded.[26]
  • 19 July: The Defense Ministry states that militants suffered 34 casualties in airstrikes conducted between 17–19 July.[27]
  • 23 July: Halifan Hill and Zilok Hill captured in the Hakurk region.[28]
  • 30 July: National Intelligence Organization announces Hacı Kurhan and his assistant were shot down in an operation in the Amedi/Pirozana region. It was reported that he was one of the leaders of the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK).[29]

August[edit]

In the beginning of August, airstrikes were carried out in Kurdistan Region.[10]

  • 3 August: The Senior PKK member, Nedim Karakulak (codenamed Kawa Garzan), who was in charge of PKK's logistical support around the Qandil and Hakurk region, was killed in the Kurdistan Region.[13]
  • 4 August: Shiwah Valley, including the Misloke and Malla İbrahim villages captured.[30]
  • 5 August: Gorasher Mountain captured, a large part of the Olmuş Valley under the control of Turkish Armed Forces.[31]
  • 10 August: A total of 80 militants killed or captured since the launch of the Claw-2 offensive.[32]
  • 14 August: TAF ATAK helicopters hit PKK targets in the village of Birkim.[33]
  • 15 August: Turkish fighter jets kill a total of 13 PKK targets in Kurdistan Region according to the Defense Ministry said.[34]
  • 19 August: TAF ATAK helicopters hit PKK targets in the Hakurk region.[35]
Operation Claw 3
  • 25 August: Three Turkish soldiers killed in PKK ambush; seven soldiers were also heavily injured.[36]
  • 26 August: A total of 15 PKK militants killed in Operation Claw 3.[37]
  • 27 August: Operation of Claw-3 aim to destroy six camps in Kurdistan Region.[38]
  • 28 August: The Peshmerga forces forbade access to the villages of Kasrok, Mergashish, Darashish and Behnuna in the Haftanin region due to the Paw-3 operation.[39]

September[edit]

  • 11 September: During an air operation against a building in the Kandil/Bawlah region, KCK Executive Member "Pelşin Tolhildan" (code-named Gülüzar Tural) and women's structuring KJK's Executive Council Member "Jiyan Garzan" (code-named Saliha Kaytar) were killed.[40]
  • 12 September: TAF troops were deployed to the top of Karachal mountain to establish a new base via helicopters.[41]
  • 13 September: TAF units take Hales Mountain in Haftanin.[42]
  • 14 September: Operation Claw-3 continues in Kurdistan Region.[43]
  • 17 September: New bases established in the "Dayla (lelikan) region".[44]
  • 18 September: A total of 417 PKK militants killed or captured over past four months according to the Defense Ministry.[45]
  • 23 September: Two TAF personnel killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Kurdistan Region.[46]

October[edit]

  • 18 October: Two HPG militants were killed after an operation carried out by Bayraktar Tactical UAS.[47]
  • 28 October: A TAF soldier died of a heart attack after being transported by helicopter to Turkey.[48]

December[edit]

  • 13 December: Two fighter jets and artillery units affiliated to the Turkish Armed Forces hit the slopes of Kani Dezan and Seri Ziraran.[49]

2020[edit]

January[edit]

  • 2 January: 2 TAF soldiers killed in clashes with PKK in Hakurk region.[50]
  • 8 January: Esme Erat, codenamed Delal Nurhak, a militant of the PAJK, and her driver, codenamed Zilan Kobani, were killed in an operation late last September in Kurdistan Region's Qandil region.[51]
  • 13 January: 2 village guards and a soldier died during in counter-terror operations, says Turkish Defense Ministry[52]
  • 17 January: A Turkish soldier, who was injured while preventing a PKK attack, succumbed to his wounds, Turkey’s Defense Ministry.[53]
  • 21 January: Turkey arrests suspect over killing of Turkish diplomat Osman Kose[54]

March[edit]

  • 9 March: Halide Tari KCK senior was killed in a joint operation conducted by Turkish intelligence (MIT) and armed forces (TAF)[55]
  • 13 March: Warplanes from the Turkish Armed Forces hit the Bradost region of Sidekan. Sidekan District Director İhsan Çelebi said that on March 13, at around 16:00, Turkish fighter planes hit the countryside of Khalifa and Geli Reş villages after flying for an hour in the region.[56]
  • 26 March: An air strike was carried out after two Turkish soldiers were killed and two others injured. It was announced that the TAF has wounded of killed several members of the PKK in Iraq.[57]
  • 27 March: Turkish artillery intermittently shot PKK positions in the rural areas of the village of Lelkan, high sections of the village of Helifan and Hakurk skirts.[58]

April[edit]

  • 3 April: 111 militants neutralized and 67 others surrendered to the security forces this month, according to Turkish security sources[59]
  • 15 April: Galya Bekir, also known as "Berivan Sarya", a top leader of the PKK/KCK, who was the Makhmur Front Officer, was killed by the operation of the National Intelligence Agency. His death was announced by the Turkish authorities on 14 May 2020.[60]
  • 16 April: A TAF soldier died Turkey's defense minister posts message of condolence on Twitter[61]
  • 16 April: Iraqi Foreign Ministry summons Turkish envoy[62]

May[edit]

  • 4 May: Warplanes affiliated with the Turkish Armed Forces hit PKK positions around the village of Sinine in the Bradost region.[63]
  • 22 May: The Free Women's Units destroyed a Turkish military position and killed four Turkish soldiers at the Lêlîkan hill. A video of the attack was published in Gerîla TV on 12 July.[64][65] The Turkish Air Force launched airstrikes in Seladize/Kurah Zur area the same day in retaliation.[66]
  • 27 May: Turkey 'neutralizes' 10 PKK militants in Kurdistan Region.[67]

June[edit]

  • 3 June: Turkey claims to have destroyed 3 cave shelters of the PKK in N. Iraq[68]
  • 4 June: The aircraft belonging to the TAF organized an air operation against targets in the Berwari valley.[69]
  • 10 June: Propane cylinders, ammonium nitrate, cables, and batteries seized in the region.[70]
  • 14 June: The Turkish Defense Ministry says that military jets successfully targeted PKK militants in Sinjar and Qandil, Iraq, among other places. The ministry claimed it was in response to increased militant attacks on Turkish bases.[71] Start of new operation Operation Claw-Eagle Iraq.
  • 20 June: The Press Office of the People's Defence Forces announced the death of four fighters as a result of an air attack by the Turkish Air Force.[72]
  • 27 June: PKK militants carried out an attack against Turkish military units on Martyr Sefkan hill in the Ermuş area. According to the PKK, one position was destroyed and two soldiers in it were killed.[73]
  • 29 June: The PKK guerrillas destroyed a Turkish military position and killed four soldiers stationed on the Hill Koordine.[74][75]

July[edit]

August[edit]

  • 11 August: People's Defence Forces militants destroyed a Turkish Armed Forces position and killed three soldiers stationed on the Koordine Hill. The attack was in retaliation for the Turkish drone attack which killed HPG Commander Agit Garzan and two commanders of the Iraqi Border Guard Battalion while they were negotiating.[79][80]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin van Bruinessen, "Zaza, Alevi and Dersimi as Deliberately Embraced Ethnic Identities" in '"Aslını İnkar Eden Haramzadedir!" The Debate on the Ethnic Identity of The Kurdish Alevis' in Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, Barbara Kellner-Heinkele, Anke Otter-Beaujean, Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East: Collected Papers of the International Symposium "Alevism in Turkey and Comparable Sycretistic Religious Communities in the Near East in the Past and Present" Berlin, 14-17 April 1995, BRILL, 1997, ISBN 9789004108615, p. 13.
  2. ^ Martin van Bruinessen, "Zaza, Alevi and Dersimi as Deliberately Embraced Ethnic Identities" in '"Aslını İnkar Eden Haramzadedir!" The Debate on the Ethnic Identity of The Kurdish Alevis', p. 14.
  3. ^ 2 killed (30 May 2019),[1] 1 killed (19 July 2019 per turkey),[2] 3 killed (25 Aug. 2019),[3] 2 killed (23 Sep. 2019),[4] 1 died (28 Oct. 2019),[5] 1 killed (2 Dec. 2019),[6] 2 killed (2 Jan. 2020),[7] 2 killed (14 Jan. 2020),[8] 2 killed (25 March 2020),[9] 1 killed (15 April 2020),[10] total of 17 reported killed
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  37. ^ "Total 15 terrorists neutralized in Operation Claw 3". www.aa.com.tr. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
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