Turkish forces kill 13 PKK fighters

Published November 9th, 2015 - 06:30 GMT

Turkish security forces say they killed at least 13 militants with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, during operations in southeastern Turkey on Saturday.

Hurriyet Daily News quoted a military statement as saying 11 PKK militants were killed during operations in the Hakkari and Şemdinli districts of the Hakkari province, while another two were "neutralized" in the Şırnak and Diyarbakır provinces.

Security forces said they also detained two Islamic State militants who attempted to cross the border from Syria into Turkey's Killis province.

The PKK last week called off an Oct. 10 unilateral ceasefire following vows by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to "liquidate" the group. Erdogan made the comments after his ruling Justice and Development Party came out victorious in elections on Nov. 1.

PKK officials said they called the cease-fire in order to foster a "fair and just election," but Turkish officials dismissed the gesture as an election tactic and on Oct. 11 ordered the air force to conduct airstrikes that killed dozens of PKK members in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey.

The move came one day after a suspected IS suicide bombing killed nearly 100 people in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

A previous 2013 cease-fire between Ankara and the PKK dissolved in July after an IS suicide bombing in the Turkish town of Suruc killed more than 30 people, prompting Turkey to begin conducting airstrikes against both IS and the PKK.

Late last month Turkey confirmed it attacked forces with Syria's Kurdish People's Defense Units, known as the YPG, adding to the complexity of the alliance system in Syria's civil war. While the United States, a NATO ally of Turkey, considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization, a US-led coalition has supported the YPG as a major ground element against IS forces in Syria.

By Fred Lambert

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