Kurdistan Turkey says dozens of PKK fighters killed in airstrikes on Qandil

Turkey says dozens of PKK fighters killed in airstrikes on Qandil
A file picture of Turkish F-16 jets at the air base in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir, Turkey. (Reuters)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish Army declared on Wednesday to have killed 29 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters, wounding 16 others in airstrikes on several targets on Qandil mountains on the border with the Kurdistan Region and Iran.

In a daily statement on its website, Turkey's General Staff said the weekend air campaign also destroyed a number of PKK weapons storages, shelters, and camps in Avashin and Basyan areas of Duhok and the Qandil mountain range.

There was no statement of denial or confirmation on the website of the PKK's armed wing, People's Defence Forces (HPG) as of the time of publishing this report.

Turkish warplanes attacking PKK targets usually take off from air bases in the Kurdish provinces of Diyarbakir and Malatya.

The army announcement came as clashes between PKK fighters and Turkish troops in several Kurdish-majority provinces continued to intensify as winter colds affected mountainous areas where much of the fighting takes place.

On Wednesday one Turkish soldier was killed by an IED in Sirnak, reported the private-owned Dogan news agency, as two others and one paramilitary Kurd paid by the government killed a day earlier were buried in their home provinces.

Clashes on Monday and Tuesday in the Kurdish provinces of Sirnak, Mardin Dersim, Hakkari, and Kars saw at least 25 PKK fighters killed according to the Turkish Army.

The number of casualties remain unconfirmed by the HPG.

Meanwhile, in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened the 'National Security Council' in a meeting that lasted for six hours, according to Kurdistan24 bureau there.

There was no immediate release regarding the content of the meeting.

The Government has recently taken a more proactive military approach in combatting the PKK, as Erdogan stirred up nationalist and Islamist sentiments among the electorate in the aftermath of the botched July 15 coup attempt in a bid to change the constitution and empower his post.

PKK and Turkish troops have been engaged in a four-decades-long conflict over government repression and denial of some 20 millions-strong Kurds' political and cultural rights.

A tentative ceasefire that lasted for two years broke down in the summer of 2015, as peace talks between the PKK and Turkish Government came to an end.

The renewed warfare at urban centers and rural areas have claimed hundreds of lives from both sides, including civilians.


Editing by Ava Homa