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The New Arab

Three Turkish soldiers killed in PKK clashes in southeast: report

Turkey considers the PKK movement a terrorist organisation [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 July, 2019

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Clashes with Kurdish militants belonging to the outlawed PKK killed three Turkish soldiers on Sunday.
Three Turkish soldiers were killed and another wounded in clashes with Kurdish militants belonging to the outlawed PKK group in southeast Turkey on Sunday, the private news agency DHA reported.

The fighting occurred in Hakkari province, nestled up against the Iraqi and Iranian borders, DHA said, adding that three militants - which it termed "terrorists" - were also killed.

Turkey has been fighting the PKK or Kurdistan Workers' Party since a fragile ceasefire between both sides collapsed in 2015.

The group is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, NATO and the European Union. 

Last month, the Turkish defence ministry has said a total of 43 members of the leftist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were “neutralised” in northern Iraq.

“43 PKK terrorists have been neutralised as part of Operation Claw, which has continued successfully for 13 days in the Kirkuk region of northern Iraq,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement added the Turkish military destroyed 53 mines and improvised explosive devices and 74 caves and shelters used by the PKK are now rendered inoperative.

The ministry said along with destroying PKK weapons, it had also confiscated weapons and ammunition belonging to the militants.

Turkey’s defence minister Hulusi Akar vowed to continue Operation Claw until “the last terrorist is neutralised”.

The term “neutralise” often means to kill, capture or wound.

The operation, dubbed by Ankara as Operation Claw, was launched in Iraq’s northern Hakurk region on 27 June. The Turkish military have been using airstrikes and commando brigade operations against the outlawed PKK group.

The PKK is based in northern Iraq, notably in the Qandil region to the south of Kirkuk.

The Kurdish insurgency led by the PKK has claimed more than 40,000 lives since it began in 1984. The PKK is mainly active in southeast Turkey, and it has rear bases in mountainous zones over the border in northern Iraq.

Turkey's military launched an offensive in May seeking to destroy those rear bases. A second phase of that operation was started on Friday.

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