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18 PKK militants killed in Ankara air raids in Turkey, Iraq

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)
The file photo shows a missile-loaded Turkish warplane taking off from the Incirlik airbase, in Adana, southern Turkey. © AP

Turkish fighter jets have carried out fresh aerial assaults on positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), killing at least 18 militants in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the Turkish army said the airstrikes left 11 PKK militants dead in Turkey’s Hakkari Province and northern Iraq on Tuesday.

Tuesday air raids also claimed the lives of three PKK members in the Turkish city of Nusaybin and four others in the town of Sirnak, the statement added.

Some 700 Kurdish militants have been killed in Nusaybin and Sirnak in Turkey’s military campaign against PKK in recent months. 

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale anti-PKK campaign in its southern border region over the past few months. The Turkish military has also been pounding the group’s positions in northern Iraq as well in breach of the Arab country’s sovereignty.

Turkey’s operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern town of Suruc, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting Turkey’s military operations.

 A man walks along a road damaged in the fighting between government troops and PKK militants in Silopi, Sirnak Province, southeastern Turkey, January 19, 2016. © AFP

A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants following the Turkish strikes against the group.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984. The conflict has left more than 40,000 people dead.

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