Turkey launches fresh strikes on Kurdish rebels in Iraq


A Kurdish man holds up a flag of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) during Noruz spring festival in the Lebanese capital Beirut on March 21, 2012.


Joseph Eid

Turkey has confirmed that its air force has carried out a further series of strikes on Kurdish rebel bases deep inside northern Iraq.

According to the Associated Press, the military issued a statement Sunday saying that Turkish aircraft had hit nine targets associated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), mainly in Iraq’s Qandil region close to the border with Iran.

The air campaign represents the second round of Turkish attacks on PKK positions in Iraq in five days. On Wednesday similar raids were carried out, a day after PKK militants crossed into Turkey from northern Iraq to ambush an army post in the town of Yuksekova in Hakkari province, killing eight soldiers and wounding 16.

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Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous, oil-rich Kurdish region, condemned Turkey's air raids, and insisted that a peaceful solution was required to end the longstanding conflict between the Turkish government and Kurdish separatists:

"It is unfortunate that we are seeing this kind of deterioration and we are against the operations that are carried out inside Turkey or the air raids that are carried out by Turkey in areas in Iraqi Kurdistan," he told press Sunday in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil, Reuters reported.

According to the BBC, several thousand PKK militants are believed to be using northern Iraq as their base of operations. Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the group – which has been denounced by the US and the EU as a terrorist organization – began a violent campaign in the mid-1980s for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in Turkey’s south-east.

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