Turkish air strikes hit 17 Kurdish militant targets, military says

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 11, 2015 3:21 AM

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish warplanes hit 17 Kurdish militant targets in the southeastern province of Hakkari on Monday and Tuesday, the military said, as it ratchets up an offensive against the insurgents.

Turkey has been buffeted by increased fighting between its military and the outlawed Kurdistan People's Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency for greater Kurdish autonomy.

NATO member Turkey started what it called a "synchronized war on terror" last month, attacking PKK militants in northern Iraq and, less frequently, Islamic State insurgents in northern Syria.

By largely focusing on the PKK - both in Iraq and at home - Ankara has raised suspicions among Kurds that its real agenda is to check Kurdish territorial ambitions rather than battle hardline Islamists.

The air strikes in Hakkari followed operations on Sunday in the eastern Agri province, which killed seven PKK militants, according to the local governor's office.

In ground fighting, security sources said the PKK attacked a military station in Sirnak, a province adjacent to Hakkari, and killed one soldier in a 20-minute battle.

One PKK militant was killed in a clash in Bingol province, the local governor's office said.

On Monday, at least nine people were killed in a wave of attacks on Turkish security forces, mostly in the largely Kurdish southeast.

(Reporting by Orhan Coskun, Seyhmus Cakan and Ece Toksabay; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall/Larry King)