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Turkish army airstrike, soldiers kill 20 Kurdish PKK militants

Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants are seen during a gunfight with Turkish security forces in Turkey’s southern city of Nusaybin in this photo dated February 25, 2016. ©AP

Nearly two dozen members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group have been killed after Turkish military aircraft and army soldiers carried out a string of counter-terrorism operations against the militants in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari.

Provincial Governor Yakup Canbolat announced on Friday that counter-terrorism police units mounted an offensive against the Kurdish forces late last night.

Turkish air force fighter jets also launched two aerial attacks against PKK positions in the Cukurca district of the province, located 1,026 kilometers (638 miles) east of the capital Ankara. At last 20 PKK militants were killed during the ground and aerial operations.

Military sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one Turkish soldier died and another six sustained injuries in the process.

Separately, PKK militants killed three policemen and injured four others in the mountainous Tendurek district of Turkey's eastern province of Van on Friday.

People stand in front of a coffin covered with the Turkish national flag during a funeral ceremony held for slain soldier Bayram Kavci at Kocatepe Mosque in the Turkish capital Ankara on August 11, 2016. ©AFP

Turkish military forces have been conducting ground operations as well as airstrikes against PKK positions in Turkey’s troubled southeastern border region and Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region over the past year.

The campaign began following the July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc, which claimed more than 30 civilian lives. Turkish officials held the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group responsible for the act of terror.

PKK militants, who accuse the Ankara government of supporting Daesh, launched a string of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish security forces after the bomb attack, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.

The Turkish military’s involvement in the anti-PKK operations comes as it is reeling from the aftermath of a failed July 15 coup attempt.

The coup attempt was suppressed as people turned out on the streets to support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party.

At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries in the botched putsch.

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