In the morning of June 15, 2020, the Turkish air force combat aircraft launched a series of powerful rocket and bomb attacks in Northern Iraq next to the village of Sanjar. Preliminary figures indicate that the first 200 km deep raid alone engaged 18 F-16 fighters and over 10 unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs).
The Turkish armed forces command announced a military operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) under the code name "Claw-Eagle" without notifying the government of Iraq.
On June 17, Turkish troops invaded the territory of Iraq and launched the second stage of the "counter-terrorist" operation codenamed "Claw-Tiger". Several thousand Turkish engineering and special forces troops engage in active combat against the armed groups of Iraqi Kurds backed by land-based fires, UAVs, combat fighters and army aviation helicopters.
According to a Turkish Defense Ministry spokesman, air strikes were targeted against more than 500 facilities belonging to PKK armed formations. Turkish ground units are clearing the border strip, eliminating strong points and artillery positions of the Kurds. The Turkish command is actively using helicopters for in-depth airdrop missions involving special commandos groups.
Divisions of engineering troops search and blow up numerous tunnels, underground warehouses with military equipment, weapons and ammunition.
There is no information about the parties' losses. Iraqi news media, citing local observers, report fierce resistance from Kurdish formations and some 100 deaths of the Turkish military in the first two days of Operation Claw-Tiger alone. The Kurds practice tactical infiltration into the Turkish troops' military dispositions and sudden night attacks on separate garrisons.
Simultaneously with the launch of Turkish military operations, the Iranian armed forces' artillery subjected to heavy shelling a number of localities in north-eastern Iraq, where Kurdish detachments are stationed and regularly carry out violent attacks on Iranian border settlements.
Official Baghdad reacted strongly to actions by Turkey and Iran. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry presented two notes of protest to the Turkish Ambassador and one to the Iranian Ambassador, demanding to cease aggression against their country. The Iraqi government demanded that Ankara immediately and unconditionally withdraw all the Turkish troops from Iraq, threatened to request assistance with international organizations in protecting the country's sovereignty, as well as to reduce its diplomatic representation level in Turkey.
In response to the Iraqi demarche, Turkish Defense Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said that both military operations are being conducted against PKK terrorists to ensure Turkey's security, territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Iraq. Turkey expects Iraq's cooperation and understanding in combating the terrorist organization, Hama Aksoy said.
The Iraqi military do not oppose Turkish military intervention in the north of the country. The Turkish air force is bombing the territory of Iraq with impunity, nearly in default of combat-ready air defense systems with its army, which were destroyed as a result of two American aggressions.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Kuwait condemned the Turkish military actions against Iraq. The United States and NATO countries prefer to take refuge in silence, resisting support for any party to the conflict.
Turkish military observers analyzing recent events suggest that Ankara, after the end of military operations in Iraq's Northern Kurdistan, will expect Baghdad to increase the number of "temporary" military bases in the border zone with Turkey "to ensure security" of its country's southern regions.
In compliance with Turkish-Iraqi agreements, Ankara has become entitled to "temporarily" deploy several missions against illegal Kurdish armed groups in Iraqi Kurdistan limited in the number of forces involved, time and territory depths. There is a good chance that Turkey's military and political leadership will take a fancy for something more – the creation of a so-called "security zone" at a sufficiently significant depth from its state border.
At the same time, regional Arab international organizations will hardly make a stand for Iraq in a cohesive way, given the existence of deep internal dissent and irreconcilable differences.