Military Wiki
Operations Claw-Eagle and Claw-Tiger
Part of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict and Kurdish–Iranian conflict
Date15 June 2020 – 5 September 2020
(2 months and 3 weeks)
LocationKurdistan Region, Iraq
Supported by:
 Iran (Artillery support)[1][2]
Kurdistan Workers' Party
Commanders and leaders

Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Turkey Hasan Küçükakyüz Turkey Ali Özmen

Turkey Hulusi Akar
Turkey Yaşar Güler

Cemîl Bayik

Murat Karayılan
Units involved

[[File:|23x15px|border |alt=|link=]] Turkish Armed Forces

Ministry of the Interior



Unknown personnel

Casualties and losses

5 killed (per Turkey)[5]

300 killed (per PKK)[6]

83 killed, wounded or captured (per Turkey)[7][8]

51 killed (per PKK)[9]
7 civilians killed[10]

The joint Claw-Eagle and Claw-Tiger operations (Turkish: Pençe-Kartal Operasyonu and Pençe-Kaplan Operasyonu) was a Turkish Armed Forces external operation in northern Iraq.[11] The operation took place in the Qandil Mountains, the Sinjar District, and Makhmur, against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets, as part of the ongoing Kurdish–Turkish and Kurdish–Iranian conflicts. Claw-Eagle, the air campaign, began on 15 June 2020. Claw-Tiger, the ground campaign, was launched on 17 June.[12]


As part of the 2013–2015 peace talks, the Kurdistan Workers' Party agreed to move most of its fighters to the mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turkish Armed Forces also established bases in Iraq which sparked regional and international condemnation. The conflict reignited once more in June 2015, accompanied by ongoing Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War and harassment of Kurdish parties in Turkey.[13]

Operation Claw-Eagle[]

Turkish Armed Forces bombed Sinjar and destroyed multiple PKK camps near Yezedi villages. According to the locals, there were fears of ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Turkish State towards Yezidi's.[14]

The Turkish government claimed that fighter jets destroyed caves in the Qandil Mountains used by the PKK.[15] The airstrikes also struck near Makhmour refugee camp,[16][17] which hosts thousands of Turkish Kurd refugees who fled the conflict in the 1990s,[18][19] as well as Yezidi villages in Sinjar.[20] The Turkish Ministry of National Defense released a video of the airstrikes, claiming 81 targets were destroyed.[21][22][23] On 25 June, a drone strike killed one[24] or two[25] PKK fighters outside a shop in Kuna Masi north of Sulaymaniyah, and injured six nearby civilians in the marketplace (two men, two women, and two children).[24] Four of the wounded are in serious condition in Qalachwan Hospital.[25]

Operation Claw-Tiger[]

On 17 June, Turkish Land Forces launched a ground operation in the Haftanin region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Units of the Hakkari Mountain and Commando Brigade and 1st Commando Brigade were airlifted across the Iraq–Turkey border.[26][27]

Iranian cooperation[]

On 16 June, the Iranian military shelled the Choman area of the Qandil Mountains,[1] an attack that is believed to have been coordinated with the simultaneous Turkish airstrikes.[2] The collaboration is said to materialize known alliances between Turkey and Iran.[28]

Domestic reactions[]


The parliament of the Kurdistan region criticized the attacks[29] while Iraq demanded that Turkey stops violating the Iraqi airspace and terrorizing the population in the area.[30][31]

In August 2020, Iraq canceled a ministerial meeting and summoned the Turkish ambassador as Iraq blamed Turkey for a drone strike that killed two high-ranking Iraqi military officers. Officials called it a "blatant Turkish drone attack" in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.[32]

International reactions[]

UN-member countries[]

In June 2020, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom accused Turkey that it threatened Yazidis families who attempted to return to their homes in the Sinjar. Turkey rejected the claims.[33]

International organizations[]

The Arab League condemned the operation based on violation of Iraq's sovereign space.[34] Turkey criticized the declaration, on the claim of PKK itself affecting Iraq's sovereignty.[35]


Protests condemning the airstrikes were held in Duhok province[36] but also in several countries in Europe.[37][38] In London a Kurdish protester forced a car transporting Boris Johnson to stop in order to raise awareness to the situation of the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan.[39]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Iranian artillery bombs border areas within Kurdistan Region: source". 16 June 2020. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Turkey, Iran defy Iraq’s sovereignty in seemingly coordinated strikes". 
  3. Ergan, Uğur (16 June 2020). "PKK’ya Kuzey Irak’ta ‘Pençe-Kartal’". Hürriyet. 
  4. ""У кого больше дивизий, тот и прав": Турция вонзила в Ирак "Коготь орла"". Crimean Gazette. 16 June 2020. 
  5. Fifth Turkish soldier killed in Kurdistan Region
  6. 10 killed (16–17 June),[1] 20 killed (18–19 June),[2] 26 killed (19 June),[3] 34 killed (21 June),[4] 6 killed (22 June),[5] 13 killed (23 June),[6] 5 killed (25 June),[7] 21 killed (26 June),[8] 2 killed (27 June),[9] total of 300 reported killed
  8. "Turkey hits 700 targets in Claw-Tiger Operation: Minister - Turkey News". 
  9. 3 killed (15 June),[10] 3 killed (16–17 June),[11] 2 killed (18–19 June),[12] 3 killed (19 June),[13][14] 1 killed (21 June),[15] 2 killed (25 June),[16][17] [18] 5 killed (28 June),[19] 2 killed and 1 captured (2 July),[20] 3 killed (10 July),[21] 2 killed (13 July),[22] 5 killed (14 July),[23] 1 killed (9 August),[24] 4 killed (24 July),[25] 1 killed (9 August),[26] 3 killed (11 August),[27] 1 killed (17 August),[28] 2 killed (25 August),[29] 2 killed (12 September),[30] 5 killed (3 October),[31] 3 killed (13 December),[32] 1 killed (4 January),[33] 4 killed (21 January),[34] total of 51 reported killed
  10. "Iraqis flee border areas as Turkey strikes Kurdish militants". 22 June 2020. 
  11. McKernan, Bethan (17 June 2020). "Turkey launches major attack on Kurdish militants in Iraq" (in en-GB). The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. 
  12. Aliyev, Jeyhun (17 June 2020). "Turkey launches Operation Claw-Tiger in northern Iraq". 
  13. Hoffman, Max. "The State of the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict" (in en-US). 
  15. "Turkish jets strike Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq" (in en). Reuters. 14 June 2020. 
  16. "MSB duyurdu: Mahmur Kampı çevresi ve Şengal’e hava saldırısı" (in tr). 
  17. "Turkey carries out dozens of airstrikes in Iraq's Kurdistan region". 15 June 2020. 
  18. "Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Refugees’ Movements Restricted" (in en). 27 November 2019. 
  19. "Turkey's war on the Kurds". 
  20. "Turkey bombs Sinjar villages in Iraq where genocide survivors live". 
  21. "Turkish Military" (in en). 
  22. "Turkey’s Air Force Strikes Kurdish Separatists in Iraq" (in en-CA). 
  23. "Turkish fighter jets attack PKK sites in northern Iraq". 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "'Fighter' killed, civilians roiled as warplanes strike near tourist resort in Sulaimani: mayor". 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Corporation, Nalia. "Two killed, six others wounded in Turkish airstrike on Sulaimani’s Kuna Masi town". 
  26. "T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı Twitter" (in en). 
  27. "Turkey Launches Operation Claw-Tiger in Northern Iraq". 
  28. "With assault on Iraq, Turkey and Iran cement a partnership in crime". 21 June 2020. 
  29. "Parliament’s Presidency condemns Turkey’s recent military attacks inside Kurdistan" (in en). 
  30. "Iraq summons Turkey’s ambassador to protest airstrikes" (in en). 16 June 2020. 
  31. "Iraq criticizes Turkey for reported air raid on its territory" (in en). 15 June 2020. 
  32. "Iraq fumes against Turkey over deadly drone attack". 12 August 2020. 
  33. "Turkey rejects US body's accusations on anti-terror ops - Turkey News". 
  34. ROJINFO (16 June 2020). "La Ligue arabe condamne l’incursion de l’armée turque au nord de l’Irak" (in fr-FR). 
  35. Şafak, Yeni. "Turkey slams Arab League chief’s remarks on operation" (in tr-TR). 
  36. Wali, Zhelwan. "Two protesters wounded in demonstration against Turkish airstrikes in Duhok province". 
  37. "Kurds protest Turkey’s attacks on Kurdistan across Germany" (in en). 
  38. "Actvists in Linz, Duisburg and Marseille protest Turkish attacks" (in en). 
  39. "Boris Johnson's car 'crashed into motorbike' during Kurdish protest in London" (in en-GB). 17 June 2020. 

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