Turkish military operations in northern Iraqi Kurdistan against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) positions continued over the weekend of Saturday, November 22, and Sunday, November 23. Artillery strikes against the villages of Upper and Lower Panke, near Batifa, allegedly caused damage to civilian homes and set fire to surrounding fields and pastures. On Sunday, the Turkish defense ministry stated that 80 militants had been "neutralized" in 31 operations over the last month. Turkish officials use the term "neutralized" to denote individuals killed or captured.
The latest strikes were part of Operation Tiger Claw, which was launched against PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdistan in mid-June. Turkish officials claim that 348 militants have been killed or captured in cross-border Tiger Claw operations to date.
Further Turkish military operations are likely in northern Iraqi Kurdistan over the near term. Retaliatory PKK attacks are possible along border regions while Turkish operations continue.
Turkey has faced a Kurdish insurgency since 1984, spearheaded by the Kurdistan Worker's Party (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.
Individuals in northern Iraq are advised to monitor developments to the situation, 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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