Turkish military officials announced on Friday, June 15, that airstrikes in the Qandil area (northern Iraq) killed 26 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants on Tuesday, June 12. Additional cross-border Turkish airstrikes are possible in the coming weeks, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently promised to "drain the terror swamp" in the area.
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. Tensions between the Turkish state and Kurdish populations have intensified further since the launch of Operation Olive Branch, a Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in Syria, in January 2018.
Individuals in northern Iraq are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid the Qandil area, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
Due to the Turkish government's ongoing conflicts with the PKK some Western governments advise against travel to areas much of the southeast part of the country, notably to areas along the Syrian and Iraqi borders.
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