ANKARA

Turkey has started a new anti-terror operation in four of its eastern provinces, the Interior Ministry announced on Thursday.

Operation Yildirim-13 Bestler-Dereler is aimed at thwarting potential attacks this winter, completely eliminating separatist terror groups, and neutralizing all terrorists hiding out in the region, the ministry said in a statement.

As many as 2,500 security personnel, including Gendarmerie Special Operations forces, police, and other security personnel, are part of the operation in Sirnak, Siirt, Van, and Hakkari provinces, it added.

Although the statement did not mention any specific group, the PKK terror group has been active in eastern Turkey and the government has launched a series of operations this year to neutralize PKK terrorists in the region.

At least 124 terrorists have been neutralized, 53 collaborators captured, 190 caves, hideouts, and storages destroyed, and a large quantity of arms, ammunition, and other supplies seized in Yildirim operations to date, the ministry said.

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralized” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

*Writing by Burak Dag

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