Three Turkish soldiers killed in Kurdish militant attack

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 15, 2015 12:07 PM

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Three Turkish soldiers were killed and six wounded on Saturday when Kurdish militants detonated a remote-controlled explosive that hit their convoy, the military said.

The soldiers were traveling near the town of Bingol in the mainly Kurdish southeast, the General Staff said on its website.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has struck military targets on a near-daily basis since the government launched air strikes on rebel camps in northern Iraq on July 25, wrecking a two-year ceasefire in the three-decade conflict.

More than 40 members of the security forces have been killed in attacks and 174 wounded, according to the government. Turkish media reports have put the PKK's death toll at more than 200.

The southeast is on tenterhooks this weekend as Saturday marks the 31st anniversary of the start of the conflict in 1984. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed.

Turkish officials have said the military campaign is designed to tackle both the PKK and Islamic State militants in neighboring northern Syria.

It has actively joined the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State and staged three air strikes against them in Syria, a government official said. But it has launched more than 400 strikes against the PKK in and outside Turkey, he said.

This had raised suspicions among Kurds that Turkey is more interested in curbing Kurdish militants, who have coordinated with the United States against Islamic State.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley and Nicholas Tattersall; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)