ANKARA – The Turkish army says it has killed up to 100 Kurdish rebels in a week of air and artillery strikes on suspected PKK bases in northern Iraq, BBC reports.
A statement on the army website said that, according to its estimates, between 90 and 100 were killed and more than 80 wounded.
The PKK has confirmed three deaths, while local reports say a family of seven were killed by the bombing. Turkey began the strikes after deadly PKK attacks on its soldiers.
Carried out between 17 and 22 August, they are believed to be the first major strikes on rebel bases in northern Iraq in over a year.
They came shortly after PKK fighters ambushed a troop convoy last Wednesday, killing nine soldiers and injuring 14. The PKK launched its armed insurrection in the Turkish south-east in 1984. At least 40,000 people have been killed since then.
The group is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and the US. Hopes of negotiations raised before the recent Turkish general election appear to have been dashed by the upsurge in fighting.
Most of the 132 targets reportedly hit were described by the army as “shelters” but they also included nine anti-aircraft sites and one arms dump. Kurdish sources often give very different figures and accounts from the Turkish military and it is often impossible to verify such figures independently. On Monday, PKK spokesman Ahmed Denis said three fighters had been killed during initial strikes on Dohuk province in northern Iraq. The spokesman added that if Turkey continued its attacks, the PKK would “go to war with Turkey”. Officials in northern Iraq say a family of seven was killed in its car on Sunday.