Turkey: 30 PKK Fighters Killed in Airstrikes Against Northern Iraq

Warplanes Pounded Qandil Mountains, Along Border Area

by Jason Ditz, September 05, 2016

The Turkish military has issued a statement claiming a series of airstrikes against the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq have killed at least 30 PKK fighters, including a number of unnamed “senior figures” in the group, just a day after fighting in the southeast of Turkey led to a number of PKK fighters crossing into Iraq.

The PKK, a secessionist movement active mostly in southeastern Turkey, has had a presence in northern Iraq for years, and that presence grew significant during the ceasefire of 2014-2015, as fighters were encouraged to withdraw across the border to facilitate peace talks.

When the Erdogan government withdrew from the ceasefire in summer of 2015, military operations spanned both sides of the border, though in many cases Kurdish civilians in northern Iraq say that villages the PKK has long since left are still being targeted.

Turkish officials have ruled out any return to the ceasefire, saying the PKK lost their chance when they retaliated after the government withdrew from the ceasefire last year. Turkish military forces have also entered northern Syria with an eye toward checking Kurdish expansion there, suggesting the government is more than willing to fight the Kurds in three countries at once.

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