ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey announced that its airstrikes have "neutralized" eight members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Friday and Saturday in the Kurdistan Region and Turkey's southeastern Mardin Province.
The term “neutralize” is commonly used by Turkish officials to refer to enemy fighters killed, captured, or incapacitated.
The Turkish General Staff said in a social media post that fighter jets had bombarded the "Sinat-Haftanin regions [of the Kurdistan Region] as well as in Omerli district" of the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin, near both the Iraqi and Syrian borders.
The PKK took up arms in the 1980s to demand rights for Kurdish citizens in a conflict that has claimed some 40,000 lives on both sides. Violence has escalated since the collapse of a peace process between them in the summer of 2015.
In recent months, Turkish forces have stepped up military action against PKK fighters within the Kurdistan Region, including building outposts and military access roads. They have crossed into the region up to 20 kilometers deep in some areas to target the Kurdish guerilla fighters, and bombardment from Turkish jets occasionally result in the death of civilians unaffiliated to the PKK.
On June 30, Turkish shelling in a populated area along the Turkey-Kurdistan Region border resulted in the death of a 19 year-old Kurdish woman.
Multiple fires were started in rural mountainous areas in the Kurdistan Region on Friday after being shelled by the Turkish military.
In mid-June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that warplanes had struck an “important” gathering of PKK members, including senior leaders, in the Qandil Mountains, but an exact location was not given.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials, including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, have repeatedly asked the PKK to leave the area as well as asking Turkey to stop bombing within its borders.