Turkey invades Iraq to fight Kurdish militias

FILE - Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar arrives for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council with Georgia and Ukraine at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Turkey has launched a new ground and air cross-border offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Turkey's Defense Minister announced early Monday, April 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)

FILE – Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar arrives for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council with Georgia and Ukraine at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Turkey has launched a new ground and air cross-border offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Turkey’s Defense Minister announced early Monday, April 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)

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UPDATED 9:32 AM PT – Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Turkish military is advancing a large-scale operation in Northern Iraq that began with an invasion of Kurdish areas earlier this week. Turkey’s Defense Ministry said it conducted artillery and missile strikes on targets that belong to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist group.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party seeks to form a Kurdish national state in the Kurdish areas of Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Turkish ground forces also reportedly crossed into Iraq as part of the operation.

“Our fundamental goal is to neutralize terrorists who are attempting to attack our country, our borders,” stated Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. “As always, during the planning and execution of this operation, we displayed maximum sensitivity toward civilians, the environment, cultural and religious structures so they wouldn’t be harmed.”

Much of the international community has yet to react to Turkey’s latest invasion of Iraq, which may lead to further destruction and civilian deaths in the conflict-ridden country. Meanwhile, some members of the European Parliament have spoke out against the escalation.

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