Turkish air force bombs PKK targets despite ceasefire

Shelters and gun positions of Kurdistan Workers Party destroyed in Iraq and 14 fighters killed in Turkey, army says.

    Turkish air force bombs PKK targets despite ceasefire
    PKK took up arms in 1984 initially to fight for an independent Kurdish state in south-eastern Turkey [File: Reuters]

    The Turkish army has carried out air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the army said. 

    Air raid came on Sunday, a day after the group unilaterally told its fighters to halt attacks in Turkey.

    Turkish military claimed to have destroyed PKK shelters and gun positions on Sunday during its raids in the Metina and Zap areas of northern Iraq.

    Fourteen PKK fighters were killed on Saturday in air strikes in the Lice area of southeast Turkey, the army said.

    PKK was founded in 1978 and took up arms in 1984 initially to fight for an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey and later for political and cultural autonomy.

    More than 40,000 people have died in the conflict between the government and the banned paramilitary party with Marxist origins.

    PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan has been in prison since 1999 and is being held on the island of Imrali.

    The Turkish government, the European Union and the United States have designated the PKK and related groups as "terrorist organisations".

    'Fighter jet harassed'

    The Turkish military said on Sunday, Syrian fighter jets and missile systems harassed Turkish F-16 warplanes near the Turkish-Syrian border, once again bringing the conflict to NATO's southeastern flank.

    The three jets were among 12 F-16s patrolling the border when they were interfered with for two minutes by Syria-based missile systems.

    They were also harassed for 35 seconds by two SU-22 and one SU-24 planes, the general staff statement said.

    Last weekend, Turkey reported two incursions by Russian fighter jets into its airspace and said an MIG-29 fighter and Syria-based missile systems also "interfered" with its air force patrols in developments described by NATO as "extremely dangerous" and "unacceptable".

    SOURCE: Reuters


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