Operation Northern Iraq

Operation Northern Iraq (Turkish: Kuzey Irak Harekâtı) was a cross-border operation by the Turkish Armed Forces into North of Iraq between 12 October and 1 November 1992 against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by a number of states and organizations, including the United States, NATO and the EU.[7] More than 37,000 people have been killed in the Kurdish–Turkish conflict since 1984.[8]

Operation Northern Iraq
Turkish: Kuzey Irak Harekâtı
Part of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict
Date12 October – 1 November 1992[1]

KRGPKK cease-fire.

  • 2 captured Turkish soldiers released by PKK
  • All routes between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan re-opened
  • End of KRG military operations against the PKK
  • Withdrawal of Turkish forces
  • Continued PKK presence in Northern Iraq
  • Continued Kurdish–Turkish conflict

 Iraqi Kurdistan

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Commanders and leaders
Doğan Güreş
Eşref Bitlis
Nawshirwan Mustafa

Osman Öcalan[2]
Faruk Bozkur

Murat Karayılan
20,000 Turks[3]
5,000 Iraqi Kurds[4]
Casualties and losses
28 killed
125 wounded
Iraqi Kurdistan:
150 killed[4]
178 killed

1,551 killed[6]
2,700 injured[5]
1,232 captured by Turkish forces[6]
(Turkish claim)
2,000 captured by KDP forces[5] (Barzani claim)

161 killed[4]
300 injured[4](PKK claim)


On April 8, 1992, Iraqi Kurdish leaders agreed to stop the PKK's raids into Turkey from their territory in an attempt to create good relations with Turkey.[5][9] In response, the PKK cut supply routes from Turkey to Iraqi Kurdistan on July 31.[5][9] To re-open the supply roots, Peshmerga loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan's ruling parties), started an offensive on October 4 to drive the PKK from Northern Iraq.[5][9]

The Operation

On August 6, the Turkish Air Force launched air raids to support Iraqi Kurdish forces in their offensive against the PKK. After the air raids, Turkey launched an operation against the PKK, using 20,000 ground troops, backed by tanks, helicopters and aircraft. It was estimated the PKK had over 8,000 fighters in the region. Turkey claimed to have killed and captured nearly 3 thousand PKK fighters and wounded 2,700 by November 5, with over 1,000 surrendering to Iraqi Kurdish forces, a number which rose to 1,400 by 12 November. In mid-November Turkish forces started to withdraw after claiming to have reduced the PKK's fighting force to a mere 2,500. The PKK acknowledged only 150 casualties.[5][9]

Most of the PKK's strength, including most of their experienced fighters, were based inside of Turkey at the time and so they lacked both manpower and resources inside Iraq. As supplies started to run out and PKK commanders also found it increasingly difficult to communicate with Abdullah Öcalan in Syria. Therefore, his brother Osman Öcalan agreed to meet with Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan Fuad Masum on October 30 to negotiate. The negotiations were supported by Faruk "Nasir" Bozkur but were opposed by Murat "Cemal" Karayılan, which were the two other main commanders in Northern Iraq.[4] On November 17, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the PKK reached a truce accord under which the PKK would re-open all routes to Turkey and release 2 captured Turkish soldiers.[5] A buffer zone between Iraq and Turkey was to be created to prevent further PKK activities, however, according to Turkish officials this did not happen due to a lack of cooperation from the KRG.[4]


Turkey announced fatalities at a total of 28 personnel made out of 1 commissioned officer, 3 noncommissioned officers, 22 soldiers and 2 village guards. Turkey announced the injured at a total of 125 personnel made out of 12 commissioned officers 16 noncommissioned officers, 93 soldiers, and 4 village guards. Turkey announced the total number of militants neutralized at a total of 2,783 with 1,551 being killed and 1,232 being captured.[6]


  1. Irak'a yapılan en büyük kara harekatı, 20 October 2011 (DHA)
  2. Kurdistan - Turkey
  3. Europa World Year Book 2004 (page 4226)
  4. Page 203-206 Archived 2014-10-07 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Chronology for Kurds in Turkey Archived 2012-10-17 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Kuzey Irak harekatı (5 Ekim - 15 Kasım 1992)". Hürriyet. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
  7. "Council Decision", Council of the European Union, December 21, 2005
  8. "Kurdish rebels kill Turkey troops". BBC News. 2007-04-08. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  9. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2017-07-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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