Turkish jets pound Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

a missile-loaded Turkish Air Force warplane rises in the sky after taking off from Incirlik Air Base, in Adana, southern Turkey. (File photo: AP)

Turkish warplanes carried out a new barrage of cross-border airstrikes on a Kurdish militant camp in northern Iraq Wednesday, destroying munitions depots and caves, the army said.

Security sources said the jets also targeted a facility being used as an “education and logistics” hub late Tuesday.

The jets took off from an air base in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey, the sources added.

Turkish security forces have regularly targeted camps belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since the collapse of a ceasefire in July.

The attacks come after two Kurdish ministers resigned after accusing Turkey’s government of promoting a “logic of war” as they quit the cabinet on Tuesday, two months after the resumption of fighting between the army and Kurdish rebels.

EU Affairs Minister Ali Haydar Konca and Development Minister Muslum Dogan said the state’s two-month-old offensive against the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had created a “hellish” situation “especially in the Kurdish cities.”

The escalation has shattered a two-year-ceasefire which had raised hopes of an end to the PKK’s three-decade insurgency, in which over 40,000 people have been killed.

Turkish soldier killed

Meanwhile, a Turkish soldier was killed in southeastern Diyarbakir province in a new attack blamed on PKK, a security source said.

Sergeant Mehmet Ali Sarak, 25, came under fire from PKK militants with automatic rifles while on his way to his army base in the Silvan district of Diyarbakir, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Sarak, who was in civilian clothing when he was shot, died instantly, said the source, who added that an security operation was then launched to track down the assailants.

In a statement published on its website, the Turkish army confirmed the death of the soldier and denounced a “despicable attack” conducted by “traitors devoid of any humanity.”

Nearly 150 soldiers and police have been killed in attacks since July blamed on the PKK compared with more than 1,000 rebels, according to pro-government media.

The escalation has shattered a two-year-ceasefire which had raised hopes of an end to the PKK’s three-decade insurgency, in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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