Turkish Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu announced that Turkish military forces launched an operation targeting Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants on the Turkish-Iranian border on Monday, March 18. Turkey claims the operation is a joint military venture with Iranian forces; Iranian state media quoted military officials claiming that Iranian forces have not been involved in the security operation. The move comes after Turkish forces clashed with Kurdish militants in northern Iraq on Saturday, March 16, leaving at least two Turkish soldiers dead and eight others wounded.
Continuing Turkish security operations targeting suspected Kurdish militants are to be expected in the Turkish-Iranian and Turkish-Iraqi border regions over the near term.
Turkey has faced a Kurdish insurgency since 1984, spearheaded by the PKK, which was renewed in 2015 following the dissolution of a ceasefire. The conflict has left over 40,000 people dead since 1984 and associated violence continues to pose a significant security risk in southeastern Turkey. The Turkish military has increasingly targeted PKK militants outside Turkish borders in recent months and its forces have reportedly killed dozens of PKK militants in northern Iraq since the beginning of their offensive against Kurdish militants in the region in March 2018.
Individuals in Turkey and Iran are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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