Turkish Troops Hunt PKK in New Incursion in Northern Iraq

Published May 25th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Thousands of Turkish troops launched a new hunt against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq Tuesday, security forces in Hakkari city told AFP Thursday. 

Some 3,000 soldiers advanced five kilometers into the region, which has been outside Baghdad's control since the 1991 Gulf War. 

They were reinforced with helicopters bombarding PKK camps in the area, the left-leaning daily Cumhuriyet reported Thursday. 

At least ten rebels have been killed so far in the operation, the security forces said. Information on any Turkish casualties was not available, said Reuters. 

The cross-border operation came as a follow-up to an onslaught against the rebels in Turkish territory as they apparently retreated into Iraq. 

Turkey frequently launches incursions into northern Iraq to pursue PKK rebels, who use the area as a jumping board for attacks on Turkish territory, added the agency. 

Since 1991, the area has been under the administration of two rival Kurdish factions, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Union, which sides with Turkey in its struggle against the PKK. 

An earlier cross border operation had been carried out in the beginning of May in which some 30 PKK members were killed, according to press reports. 

Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party had denounced the offensive as detrimental to the fragile peace in the region, said AFP. 

Following peace calls by its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK said last September that it was ending its 15-year war on Ankara and withdrawing from Turkey, added AFP – (Several Sources) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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