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Turkey security forces detain 137 PKK suspected members in country-wide operation

Turkish soldiers patrol in the town of Aliaga, Izmir Province, July 18, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Turkish security forces have arrested 137 suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group during a counterterrorism operation across the Anatolian country.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on Saturday, the people were detained in a country-wide operation over the previous two days aimed at the militant outfit, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.

The PKK, which has been designated as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies, is regularly targeted in Turkey’s security forces raids, both inside the country and border areas of neighboring Iraq and Syria.

Over more than three decades since its voicing of autonomy demands, the PKK’s armed clashes with the Turkish security forces have killed more than 40,000 people, mostly from the militant group’s side.   

On Thursday, seven troopers lost their lives by an improvised explosive device in a locality in southeastern Turkey in an attack Ankara blamed on the PKK.

Separately on Thursday, the Turkish military said that a total of 13 PKK militants had been killed in air raids on Iraq's northern Avasin-Basyan and Zap regions as well as Turkey's southeastern Siirt Province over the past two days.

A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants in 2015 in the wake of a large-scale Turkish military campaign against the group. 

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.

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