Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has visited the Combat Air Force Command in the western province of Eskişehir, the main command where the the air forces in the cross-border operation in northern Iraq are operated.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and Air Force Commander Gen. Hasan Küçükakyüz joined Akar on his visits to Hakkari (Colemerg), Şırnak (Şirnex) and Eskişehir to give “morale” to the Turkish army, Yeni Özgür Politika reports.
Speaking during his Eskişehir visit, Akar’s statements revealed the challenges that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) face in the ongoing clashes with Kurdish fighters in Metina, Zap and Avaşin in northern Iraq, which began on 23 April.
“The mountains, the cliffs are hard to land on. Our helicopters are unable to land a single wheel on the ground,” Akar said.
The Turkish Defence Minister underlined the “high tech” equipment that the Kurdish fighters have been using. “They have remote-controlled Dochkas. Even if the air forces are able to hit them, they [Kurdish fighters] somehow ensure their own safety. They use sniper rifles we call the Zagros. They have the Bixi [PK machine gun], the RPG [Russian hand-held disposable anti-tank grenade launcher], the kalashnikov. They also use the kalashnikovs with silencers. They have bazookas. They have various high-tech war systems,” Akar said.
Meanwhile, the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), issued a “10-day balance sheet” on Tuesday 4 May detailing the ongoing Turkish military operation in northern Iraq, ANF reports.
According to the HPG statement, Kurdish fighters launched 116 ground actions targeting the Turkish forces, as a result of which 147 soldiers lost their lives and six helicopters belonging to the Turkish army were hit.
Over the course of ten days, six Kurdish fighters lost their lives, according to the HPG.
The Turkish Ministry of Defence, on the other hand, has announced that seven Turkish soldiers and 53 Kurdish fighters have died so far, according to MA.
On 23 April the Turkish army launched a new ground and air campaign against the PKK bases in northern Iraq, mainly in the Metîna, Avaşîn and Zap regions.
Military clashes continue between the Turkish Armed Forces and Kurdish fighters, among them the HPG fighters and the female fighters of the the Free Women’s Units (YJA-STAR), especially in areas where Turkish soldiers were dropped.