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Iran Press TV

Two Turkish soldiers killed by IED in northern Iraq

Iran Press TV

Mon Sep 23, 2019 04:06PM

Turkey's Defense Ministry has announced that two of its soldiers were killed in an attack in northern Iraq by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The soldiers died after an improvised explosive device (IED) "placed by PKK separatist terrorists exploded as a supply convoy was passing," the Turkish ministry said in statement released on Monday.

Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out vast counter-terrorism operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq, southeast Turkey and northern Syria.

The US has been arming and training the Kurdish militants under the banner of helping them fight Daesh Takfiri forces.

Syria and several other countries see ulterior motives behind US support.

Turkey, a key US ally in the region, has repeatedly questioned Washington's arming and training of the Kurds.

Since May, Turkish soldiers have been conducting military operations against the PKK militants in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Earlier this year in July and August, Turkish forces killed two high-ranking PKK members in separate counter-terrorism operations in the semi-autonomous region.

Ismail Ozden, better known by the nom de guerre Mam Zeki Sengali, was "neutralized" during an offensive in the Kurdish-populated town of Sinjar.

Diyar Garip Muhammed, known by the nom de guerre Halmat Diyar, was killed in an offensive in the remote Qandil Mountains, where the PKK headquarters and rear bases are located.

Turkish sources said Muhammed had been a member of the so-called executive council of the PKK, and its umbrella group, the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK).

The PKK, whom Turkey and the United States have designated a terrorist group, has aimed to create an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

In that year, the PKK initiated an armed conflict against Turkish government forces as well as civilians, with the aim of creating an independent Kurdish state. A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government, which was signed years later, collapsed in July 2015.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the decades-long conflict between Turkey and the independence-seeking Kurdish militant group.

The PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, also known as Apo, has been jailed in ‎Turkey's Imrali‎ prison island since 1999.

An estimated 35 million people live in the Kurdistan region, which today is split between Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.

Turkey alone is estimated to home between 15 million and 20 million, giving the country the largest Kurdish population in one country.

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