MESOP NEWS : Turkish forces enter Kurdish territory north Iraq, clash with PKK

ARA News – 18 June 2017 – Turkey’s military forces on Saturday crossed the border into Iraq and clashed with rebel fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Iraqi Kurdistan’s territory.The PKK leadership confirmed in a statement to ARA News that a unit of the Turkish army has entered Iraqi Kurdistan from Hakkari province in southeastern Turkey.

“They used the Çile crossing in Hakkari to reach Iraqi Kurdistan’s territory,” a PKK spokesman said.Clashes broke out between the Turkish troops and PKK rebels in the area, where casualties were reported on both sides.“At least 14 Turkish soldiers were killed in the clashes,” the PKK official told ARA News.On the other hand, at least four PKK fighters were killed and several others were wounded in the clashes on Saturday.

“The Turkish troops were forced to withdraw towards Hakkari after suffering losses,” the source said.This comes just few days after heavy clashes hit the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakir in southern Turkey.

On Tuesday, June 13, the PKK attacked a Turkish army convoy with mortar fire and explosive devices, killing at least 15 Turkish soldiers. “The operation also led to the destruction of 7 military vehicles,” a PKK spokesman told ARA News.The Kurdish official added that the targeted vehicles had been loaded with heavy weapons and ammunition “that would have been used against the Kurdish people.”

“The strategic operation against Turkey’s military on Tuesday prevented dozens, if not hundreds, of casualties among the Kurdish people,” he told ARA News.On Monday, June 12, PKK rebels attacked a Turkish security centre in Bingol province, killing several members of the Turkish security forces including a high ranking officer, according to a statement by the PKK.

Reporting by: Jan Nasro | Source: ARA News