The Ongoing Turkish Operation: Claw-Lock, In Syria & Iraq
SYRIA/IRAQ - IRAQ - An ongoing military operation by the Turkish Armed Forces in northern Iraq, against the Kurdistan Workers' Party ( PKK ) in the Duhok Governorate, is the next phase of many operations utilizing the code word 'claw' aimed at the PKK. Other operations, beginning in 2019, prior to Claw-Lock include the following: Claw-Eagle, Claw-Tiger, Claw-Lightening, & Claw-Thunderbolt.
Also called 'Congress for Freedom and Democracy in Kurdistan, is a militant Kurdish nationalist organization founded in 1978 by Abdullah 'Apo' Ocalan. Its original goal was to set up an independent Kurdish state, this was later amended to call for greater autonomy for the greater Kurdish group of people.
The Kurdish people, who had predominantly been in western Iran, Northern Iraq, and eastern Turkey, there are pockets of Kurds everywhere, including northern Syria and Armenia. Founded as a Marxist organization, it emerged as a forefront runner group of people from the lower class, distinguishing itself by its social status and radicalism, utilizing violence as a main source in its strategic toolbox against other Kurds who were seen as governmental collaborators.
In the 80s, Apo deployed members of the PKK to neighboring countries including Syria and Lebanon, with he himself going to Syria to work with Palestinian organizations. Through relations made by Apo, the PKK joined forces with the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party, which allowed for movement of the PKK into northern Iraq, where the PKK launched its campaign into Turkey in 84. Targeted by violence and terrorism, guerilla operations were engaged against other Kurds who were seen as collaborating with the government, other foreigners, and Turkish diplomatic missions in other parts of the world.
In the 90s, the rhetoric changed, as Apo himself began shifting the pursuit of the PKK towards greater autonomy for the Kurdish people, though the terrorist guerilla tactics did not cease until the late 2000s. Turkish military operations were approved in 2007 against the PKK. Peace talks have been off and on. Turkey maintains the PKK's status as a terrorist organization, though most of the world has removed it from the terror watch lists.
Operation Claw-Lock, which started with the bombing of Kurdish villages in Duhok, Iraq, was started on April 18th, 2022, and is the extension of the ongoing operations which were already established under the code name claw by the Turkish military. Since the initiation of this operation, 5 Turkish military personnel have been killed, while the PKK has suffered several dozens of casualties. The last report from the Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that 54 PKK militants had been killed or captured.
War crimes have also been insinuated against Turkey as there have been reports that the Turkish military has hit resorts, killing 8 tourists and wounding around 20 or so more civilians. The People's Democratic Party has considered Operation Claw-Lock a breach of international law and accused Turkey of its hypocrisy as a peacemaker between Russia and Ukraine.
The Iraqi president, Barham Salih, has condemned Turkey's attacks and has called for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal from his country, calling it a threat to the national security of Iraq.
Erdogan claimed to have the approval of both the Kurdistan Regional Government and the government of Iraq, which he stated in a speech, addressing the Turkish parliament, but this has since been rebuked. A formal complaint has been submitted to the United Nations Security Council by the Iraqi Ambassador and has demanded the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraq.
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