The Turkish military conducted strikes on two sites in the Sidakan district of Erbil governorate early on Friday, September 18, following a rocket attack on a Turkish base in northern Iraq that left two soldiers dead on Thursday, September 17. Turkish artillery hit areas of Khalifan village, while an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) airstrike hit a target in the area of Birkma. No casualties were reported during the strikes. The Turkish Defense Ministry blamed the deaths of its soldiers on Kurdish militants.
Further clashes between Kurdish militants and Turkish forces in northern Iraq and southern Turkey are likely over the near term as the Turkish military carries out operations in the area.
Turkey has faced a Kurdish insurgency since 1984, spearheaded by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which was renewed in 2015 following the dissolution of a ceasefire. The conflict has left over 40,000 people dead and associated violence continues to pose a significant security risk in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.
Turkey has launched a series of operations it dubs "Lightning Operations" against PKK militants in northern Iraq since July 13. Turkish officials have reported that 71 PKK militants have been killed during the course of these operations, with a further 38 "collaborators" captured.
Those in northern Iraq are advised to monitor developments, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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