Aerial assaults kill 16 suspected PKK militants in SE Turkey
Iran Press TV
Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:30PM
Fresh airstrikes conducted by the Turkish army on the country's restive southeast have claimed the lives of 16 suspected Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants.
Turkish military and security sources said the air raids were carried out in the province of Hakkari over the past two days.
The Turkish military said in a statement that nine militants were killed in Tuesday's strikes, in which a cave, a shelter and an ammunition depot were also demolished.
Additionally, security sources said seven other suspected militants lost their lives on Wednesday.
On Monday, a car bombing took place in the Turkish city of Van close to local government offices, wounding around 50 people, including police officers and Iranian citizens.
The PKK claimed responsibility for the blast, saying it was in retaliation for the killing by security forces of Kurdish youths and the sacking of two dozen mayors from Kurdish-run municipalities.
Last week, Ankara appointed new administrators in 24 Kurdish-run municipalities, most of them in the largely-Kurdish southeast, after removing their mayors over alleged militant links.
Earlier this week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein expressed concerns over allegations of continued violations of international law in southeastern Turkey. He further complained that the Turkish government has refrained from granting unfettered access to the region.
Turkey's southeast has been volatile since a shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK, which had stood since 2013, was declared null and void by the militants following Turkish strikes against the group.
Turkey's operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern town of Suruc, which the government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
After the bombing, PKK militants, who accuse Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting the Turkish military operations.
According to a latest toll given by Turkish media, more than 600 members of the country's security forces and over 7,000 PKK militants have been killed since the collapse of the truce.
The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984.
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