(Bloomberg) -- Turkish commando brigades launched an operation into northern Iraq against militant Kurdish separatists, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

The offensive began late Friday, when commandos supported by armed drones and helicopter gunships went into Iraq, the ministry said. The army is targeting caves and shelters that the rebel group known as the PKK uses in Iraq’s north.

Turkey has been fighting the PKK since 1984. The U.S. and the European Union both consider the group a terrorist organization.

To contact the reporter on this story: Onur Ant in Istanbul at oant@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net, James Amott, Andrew Davis

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.