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Turkish troops, jets kill 25 Kurdish PKK militants in one week

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)
In this file picture, militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) stand in formation in northern Iraq. (Photo by Reuters)

Turkish ground forces and military aircraft have killed more than two dozen members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group when they carried out a string of counter-terrorism operations in the country’s southeastern province near the border with Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in the past week.

The Interior Ministry, in a statement released on Monday, said some 1,985 operations were conducted between July 2 and 6, during which a total of 25 PKK terrorists were killed. Two Kurdish militants were captured alive, while 13 others surrendered as well.

The statement further noted that several militant hideouts were destroyed in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Tunceli and Hakkari, while 28 heavy- and long-barrel weapons, 23 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and a considerable amount of munitions were recovered from the terrorists.

Police squads, gendarmerie units, and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) also detained 88 suspected PKK members.

The Turkish General Staff, in a message published on its official Twitter page on July 4, said fighter jets had conducted airstrikes on northern Iraq's Qandil, Zap-Avashin Basyan and Gara regions in addition to the rural areas of Turkey's southeastern provinces of Sirnak, killing 11 PKK militants.

The statement added that militant hideouts and weapons caches were also destroyed in the airstrikes.

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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