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Six Turkish forces killed in alleged PKK bombing

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of Turkish forces preparing for military action during a curfew at the Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey. (photos by AFP)

Six Turkish forces, including a Special Forces police officer, have reportedly been killed in a bomb blast in southeastern Turkey, blamed on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

The Saturday bombing in the Nusaybin district of Mardin Province took place while Turkish security forces were conducting a military operation in the restive area, local press outlets reported.

People wait in front of their damaged house following heavy fighting between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters on March 2, 2016 in the Kurdish town of Cizre in southeastern Turkey. 

The development came as Turkish military’s General Staff announced in a statement that its forces killed 12 PKK militants in security operations on Friday, including two in the Nusaybin district.

The statement, cited by the country’s official Anadolu press agency, further added that the latest killing of the PKK elements in the area brought the total number of the militants killed in Nusaybin so far to 150.

The military statement added that Turkish forces further killed six PKK militants in Sirnak Province, three more in the Yuksekova district of Hakkari Province, and another in the Belen district of Hatay Province during security operations bringing the total number of alleged PKK elements killed in those areas to 249.

Protesters stand next to a fire during clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish people in the center of Diyarbakir as they protest persisting curfew in the Sur district on March 2, 2016. 

It also noted that Turkish forces seized a number of weapons and IEDs during the operations

A ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015 and attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq and Syria.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people perished in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Following the bombing, PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of attacks against Turkish security forces, prompting a major crackdown and military operations in predominantly Kurdish populated areas of the country by Turkey.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also denounced Western support for Kurdish forces, including the People's Protection Units (YPG), fighting against the Daesh terrorist group in war-ravaged Syria.

Describing the YPG as “a gang of terrorists,” Erdogan insisted on Thursday during his visit to the US that it was an extension of the PKK militants. 

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