Middle EastWar

Roadside bomb ‘placed by PKK’ kills 2 Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq

Two Turkish soldiers were killed on Monday, September 23 in northern Iraq by a roadside bomb that Turkey’s defense ministry blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The soldiers died after an improvised explosive device “placed by PKK separatist terrorists exploded as a supply convoy was passing,” the ministry said.

Turkey launched a cross-border ground offensive and bombing campaign, known as Operation Claw, into northern Iraq in May, the latest offensive against PKK militants outside Turkey.

Three Turkish soldiers were killed in skirmishes with the PKK in August in northern Iraq, and seven others were wounded, the Associated Press reported.

ANF, which is close to the PKK, reported on Sunday that the HPG, the armed wing of the PKK, had launched the ‘Battle of Heftanin’ campaign in response to the Turkish operation. It said PKK fighters killed the three Turkish soldiers in two separate incidents.

Turkey maintains a number of military bases and outposts in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in efforts to root out the PKK, which has conducted a separatist insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, during which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

Senior PKK leader Cemil Bayik has said the group seeks to solve the “Kurdish issue” through diplomacy rather than violence, and the PKK has in recent years called for autonomy for the predominately Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey rather than a separate state, but the latest ceasefire between and the group and the Turkish government collapsed in 2015.

The PKK’s leadership and rear bases are located in the remote mountainous Qandil region and other areas of northern Iraq. The group is designated a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party, which leads the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.

With reporting from AFP


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