Turkey says it killed 17 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish forces have killed 17 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) across various regions of northern Iraq and northern Syria, the defence ministry said on Friday.

In a post on social media platform X, the ministry said its forces had "neutralised" 10 PKK insurgents found in the Gara and Hakurk regions of northern Iraq, and in an area where the Turkish military frequently mounts cross-border raids under its "Claw-Lock Operation".

It said another seven militants were "neutralised" in two regions of northern Syria, where Turkey has previously carried out cross-border incursions.

The ministry's use of the term "neutralised" commonly means killed. The PKK, which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Turkey's cross-border attacks into northern Iraq have been a source of tension with its southeastern neighbour for years. Ankara has asked Iraq for more cooperation in combating the PKK, and Baghdad labelled the group a "banned organisation" in March.

Last month, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan held talks with officials in Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, about the continued presence of the PKK in northern Iraq, where it is based, and other issues. Erdogan later said he believed Iraq saw the need to eliminate the PKK as well.

Turkey has also staged military incursions in Syria's north against the YPG militia, which it regards as a wing of the PKK.

Erdogan and his ministers have repeatedly said that while Ankara is working on repairing ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government after years of animosity, it will mount a new offensive into northern Syria to push the YPG away from its border.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ros Russell)