At least nine members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group have been killed when the Turkish military carried out an airstrike on the country’s southeastern province of Sirnak.
The provincial governor's office said in a statement that the aerial assault took place in Bestler-Dereler region near the provincial capital city of Sirnak, situated some 1,000 kilometers east of the capital Ankara on Friday.
Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a policeman sustained injuries during the counter-terror operation. He later succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
Separately, Turkey’s Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Turkish forces have neutralized over 500 PKK terrorists in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region since the beginning of the current year.
The Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that the militants were killed, captured or surrendered.
At least three Turkish soldiers were killed and another sustained injuries on June 4, when PKK militants launched a rocket attack in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari.
Security sources, requesting anonymity, said Kurdish PKK terrorists mounted the assault from a mountainous area on the Iraqi side of the border.
The Turkish military then started an operation in the area to “neutralize” the militants.
PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
Turkey, along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.
More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.
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