Turkey fighter jets pound PKK positions in southeast

Friday 18/09/2015
Escalating conflict

ANKARA - Turkish war planes pounded militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) positions in the southeast during a raid, killing five suspected PKK members, the army said Monday.

F-16 fighter jets destroyed fuel and ammunition depots in the remote Hakkari province, on the border with Iraq, the general staff said in a statement on its website.

"Five terrorists have been neutralised," the army added.

The sortie was the second in a week, coming five days after the air force strafed PKK targets across the border in the mountains of northern Iraq, in an operation that killed at least 55 militants, according to the military.

Elsewhere, one member of the pro-government "Village Guard" militia was killed in an attack blamed on the PKK in the Silopi district of the southeastern province of Sirnak on Monday, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

The attack came after the government on Saturday announced plans to boost the controversial Kurdish militia by 5,000 members in the run-up to November 1 parliamentary elections.

Ankara launched a major "anti-terrorist" campaign against the PKK in late July, aimed at flushing it out of its strongholds in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.

The group has hit back hard, killing dozens of police and soldiers in almost daily bomb and shooting attacks.

Around 150 soldiers and police have been killed since the return to open conflict, compared with over a thousand 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 over 40,000 people have been killed.

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