Turkish air strikes kill 11 Kurdish militants in southeast – army

PKK fighters

Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish militant targets in two areas of southeast Turkey overnight, killing 11 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters, the army said on Tuesday.

One air operation was conducted near the Syrian border, in the Dargecit district of Mardin province, where warplanes destroyed two gun positions and killed eight militants believed to be preparing for an attack, the army said in a statement.

It said three other PKK members were killed and a cave destroyed in air strikes in the countryside of Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran.

HPG (People’s Defense Forces) Press Office released a statement providing information about the actions conducted by PKK militants in southeastern Turkey claiming that 40 soldiers and 3 policemen of Turkish forces were killed in the actions carried out in Hakkari, Bitlis, Dersim, Erzurum and Hatay.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed in the conflict. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union but not by the United Nations (UN).

A ceasefire between the Turkish state and the militants broke down in July 2015 and the southeast subsequently saw some of the worst violence in years.

According to a statement in May by Defence Minister Fikri Isik, over 10,100 members of the PKK have been killed since 24 July 2015 when Ankara announced an official military operation against the PKK.

The International Crisis Group, an NGO that that carries out field research on violent conflict, estimates that at least 2,948 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and the PKK since 20 July 2015 including 1,353 PKK militants, 973 state security force members and 404 civilians.