Turkish warplanes have destroyed 10 Kurdish rebel positions in the restive southeast as Ankara steps up its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), state media reported on Sunday. Jets bombed four PKK targets in the Cukurca district of the southeastern province of Hakkari close to northern Iraq yesterday evening, security sources told state-run Anadolu news agency.
The bombing took place after a bloody 48 hours during which at least 22 Turkish soldiers and a village guardsman were killed in clashes and an attack blamed on PKK militants. Twelve soldiers were killed in two separate clashes in the Cukurca and Semdinli districts in Hakkari, the provincial governor’s office said, while in Van province, eight soldiers died during fighting between soldiers and militants. The village guard — killed in an attack in Mardin in the southeast on Friday — was part of a group of local residents who cooperate with Turkish security forces against the PKK,
listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Another six PKK positions were hit in the Mount Tendurek region between Agri and Van provinces in the country’s east Saturday evening, Anadolu said. The Turkish military said more than 100 PKK fighters were “neutralised” during clashes in Cukurca with its security forces on Saturday, without explaining how many were killed and how many were injured.
Many of the rebels were taken back to northern Iraq, according to Dogan news agency. The PKK command is based in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq. A two-year ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK collapsed last year, after which Kurdish rebels launched frequent attacks on security forces in the country’s southeast. More than 600 Turkish security force members have been killed since July 2015 while more than 7,000 militants have been killed in Turkey and northern Iraq, Anadolu said. It is not possible to independently verify the toll. Activists claim innocent civilians have also been killed in the offensives.
More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK first took up arms in 1984. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday NATO countries
needed a shared attitude against all terrorist acts and organisations after talks with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China’s Hangzhou.