Turkish jets strike Kurdish PKK rebels near Iraq

Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels gather to listen to the speech of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on April 25, 2013 in the Qandil mountains. (AFP)

Turkish fighter planes launched air strikes on Tuesday against positions of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) following attacks by militants on Turkish military outposts, Turkish media reported.

The escalation is the first since a 2013 ceasefire and the start of peace talks and came on the backdrop of tensions between the government in Ankara and the country’s Kurdish population. Kurds are angry at Ankara’s lack of action to save the Syrian border town of Kobane.
Turkish F-16 jets dropped bombs late Monday on PKK targets in the village of Daglica in the Kurdish-majority Hakkari province near the border with Iraq, AFP reported a Turkish source as saying on condition of anonymity.

The security source told AFP that the PKK had been launching gun attacks on the police station in Daglica since Saturday because of the troubles in Kobane.

The military action was in response to those attacks, it added.

The fierce clashes between Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgents and Kurdish forces in Kobane have shaken Turkey's fragile peace process with the PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Ankara and much of the international community.

Frustrated with Turkey's lack of action to stop ISIS advance in northern Syria, Turkey's Kurdish community has taken to streets in several cities in the southeast over the past week, with scores killed in deadly clashes.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the unrest on the "dark forces" seeking to sabotage the delicate peace process with the PKK to end 30 years of violence that has claimed at least 40,000 lives.

In what could further fuel tensions, Iraqi Kurds have reportedly sent arms to the Kurdish fighters who are fighting ISIS in Kobane but Turkey is not allowing the aid to enter into the embattled city.

The aid includes ammunition for light weapons and mortar shells, said Alan Othman, media official in the Syrian Kurdish military council in the northeastern Syria, speaking to Reuters via Skype.

“It is a symbolic shipment that has remained in the Jazeera canton,” he said, using the Kurdish name for northeastern Syria.

 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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