Turkey targets PKK in Iraq; Iran fights Kurdish rebels

A member of the Turkish security forces stands guard at a check point on the main road to southeastern town of Silvan, near Diyarbakir. (File photo: Reuters)

Turkey on Tuesday confirmed its special ground forces had crossed into northern Iraq to pursue Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants following deadly attacks while fighting between Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and Kurdish rebels near the Turkish border have killed four people.

Turkey emphasized the incursion would be short-term.

“Turkish security forces crossed the Iraqi border as part of the hot pursuit of PKK terrorists who were involved in the most recent attacks,” a Turkish government source told AFP.

“This is a short-term measure intended to prevent the terrorists’ escape.”

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday vowed not to abandon the country to “terrorists” after deadly attacks by the outlawed PKK.

“We did not and will not abandon the nation’s future to three or five terrorists,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara, after 30 Turkish soldiers and police were killed in two separate attacks carried out by the Kurdish militants over the last three days.

He added: “In this country, the burial mound for martyrs has never remained empty. It appears it will never remain empty.” But he promised that “with God’s permission, Turkey, which has overcome plenty of crises, will get over the plague of terror.”

Four dead as Iran fights Kurdish rebels

Clashes between Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and Kurdish rebels killed two from each side, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

The clashes took place Monday night in the West Azerbaijan province in northwestern Iran, IRNA said quoting regional governor Hussein Sivani.

He said the clashes pitted members of the Revolutionary Guards against fighters from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) “terrorist group.”

“Two PJAK terrorists were killed and five were injured,” Sivani said, adding that the fighting also claimed the lives of two Revolutionary Guards members while two others were wounded.

IRNA said the clashes occurred at Razi-Kapikoy, a border crossing between Iran’s West Azerbaijan province and Turkey’s Van province which has been closed for 10 days because of unrest in Turkey.

PJAK rebels have frequently clashed with Iranian forces, sparking retaliatory bombing in the mountainous border districts of the autonomous Kurdish region in neighboring Iraq.

IRNA, quoting a security official, also reported on Tuesday that an attack last week by PJAK militants in the western province of Kermanshah has also killed a Revolutionary Guards member.

A number of rebels were killed and wounded, it said without giving further details.

(With agencies)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46