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Iran Press TV

Turkish airstrikes reportedly kill 55 PKK militants in north Iraq

Iran Press TV

Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:26PM

Turkish fighter jets have pounded camps of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, reportedly killing at least 55 militants.

Security sources said on Saturday that the airstrikes were carried out overnight, adding that the warplanes took off from a base in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

Turkey has been engaged in one of its biggest security operations in the southern border region in the recent past. The Turkish military has been conducting offensives against alleged positions of the Takfiri Daesh terrorists in northern Syria as well as those of the PKK in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey.

The security operations began in the wake of the deadly July 20 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc, an ethnically Kurdish town located close to the Kurdish town of Kobani on the other side of the border in Syria, where over 30 people died. The Turkish government blamed Daesh for the bombing. On July 22, the PKK claimed responsibility for the killing of two Turkish police officers, saying they were cooperating with Daesh.

No room for unilaterality, truce must be 'mutual'

The PKK ruled out on Thursday a unilateral ceasefire with the government in Ankara, accusing it of waging war to gain more votes in the upcoming elections.

'A ceasefire can only be mutual,' said the PKK field commander, Murat Karayilan, in response to a Turkish government demand that the militants lay down their arms and return to their camps in northern Iraq before the resumption of peace talks.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.​

The group now says it is fighting to gain greater Kurdish autonomy. Turkey, the European Union and the United States designate the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed that the fight with the PKK will continue until "not one terrorist is left."

Meanwhile, Ankara is preparing for snap elections on November 1 and findings of public opinion polls indicate that the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) will fall short of the votes needed to form a single-party government in the elections.

The ruling party fell shy of securing sufficient votes during the June 7 elections to form a single-party government after 13 years of unrivaled ruling.

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