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Turkish warplanes kill 13 PKK militants in southeast

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)
This file photo shows an F-16D fighter jet operated by the Turkish Air Force.

Turkish warplanes have conducted fresh airstrikes against the positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), killing 13 militants of the group in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

According to Turkish military sources, the militants were spotted by drones in the Lice district of Diyarbakir on Saturday.

Turkish military said fighter jets also struck PKK positions in the provinces of Siirt and Hakkari as well as in northern Iraq.

The army also said two Turkish soldiers were killed and four others sustained injuries in clashes with PKK militants in Hakkari on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Turkish General Staff, in a statement released on Friday, announced that Air Force fighter jets launched two aerial attacks against the mountainous Daglica area of Hakkari province earlier in the day, killing ten PKK members in the process.

Separately, three PKK militants were killed during a counter-terrorism operation in the Ipekyolu district in Van province on Friday.

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 been conducting offensives against the positions of the militant group in northern Iraq as well.

Turkey’s operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern town of Suruc.

More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

After the bombing, the PKK engaged in a series of attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting the Turkish military operations.

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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