Nearly 400 targets have been hit by Turkish land forces and over 60 more by air during anti-terrorism operations started in northern Iraq, Turkey’s defense minister said on Saturday.

Operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim, launched on Friday in the Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions in northern Iraq, are continuing, Hulusi Akar said as he addressed military commanders.

Earlier on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation aims to completely eliminate the terrorist threat along Turkey’s southern borders.

“This operation, carried out with respect for Iraq’s territorial integrity, will contribute to the establishment of peace and security in the region,” he said in a video link address to the command center.

The separatist terrorist group PKK often uses bases in northern Iraq, just across Turkey’s southern border, to hide out and plot terror attacks in Turkey.

In its more than 35-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 nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

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