Turkish troops conducted an offensive, codenamed Claw-Eagle 2, against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Forty-eight PKK members and three Turkish soldiers died in the operation. Following the offensive, Turkish troops made a grisly discovery in a cave, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said. They discovered the bodies of 13 Turkish citizens who had been kidnapped and killed by the PKK.

One Turkish senior security source said to Reuters that nine of the 13 found dead in the cave had been identified: they included Turkish intelligence, military, and police personnel.

Of those killed in the cave, 12 were shot in the head and another was shot in the shoulder. 

“According to initial information that was given by two terrorists captured alive, our citizens were martyred at the start of the operation by the terrorist responsible for the cave,” Akar said in a statement at a news conference.

The PKK released a statement that said several prisoners, including Turkish intelligence, police, and military personnel, had died due to the fighting in the area. The group denied it had ever hurt prisoners.

Turkey had launched a military operation against the PKK in northern Iraq’s Gara region on February 10 to secure its border and find citizens who had been previously kidnapped. Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, spoke out against other countries for failing to condemn the PKK. He said the 13 abductees had been civilians.

“PKK attacks Turkish and Iraqi security forces and civilians. It continues its terrorist attacks in northern Syria. The world is silent. This silence is a shameful act of complicity. But we will not remain silent,” Kalim wrote in a post on Twitter.