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Turkey Kills 27 Kurdish PKK Militants, Pushes West in Offensive against ISIS in Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Turkish soldier on an armoured personnel carrier waves as they drive from the border back to their base in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 27, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The Turkish military announced on Friday killing 27 members of the barred Kurdish PKK militant group in air strikes and land operations in the southeast of the country.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim earlier said the group had squandered the chance for a political peace process, after it launched a series of bomb attacks following the collapse of a ceasefire with the state last year.

Thirty others were reportedly wounded in the action in Hakkari province, a predominantly Kurdish area of the country where the PKK has launched its three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy.

As for Turkey’s intervention in Syria, the cross-border offensive witnessed renewed air strikes on ISIS sites in Syria on Friday, extending operations along a 90-km band near the Turkish border which Ankara says it is clearing of extremists and protecting from Kurdish militia expansion.

Turkey’s 10-day-old offensive, is considered its first major incursion into Syria since the war started five years ago.

However, the United States has voiced concerns about Turkish strikes on Kurdish-aligned groups that Washington has backed in its battle against ISIS.

Turkey has said it has no plans to stay in Syria and simply aims to protect its frontier from ISIS and the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdish PKK group fighting an insurgency on Turkish soil.

“Nobody can expect us to allow a terror corridor on our southern border,” President Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference.

Washington says Turkish action aimed at the YPG, part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition, risked undermining the broader goal of ridding Syria of ISIS, which has attacked Western and Turkish targets.

Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies began the Aug. 24 offensive by seizing Jarablus, a Syrian frontier town, from ISIS, before turning their sights on what the army said were YPG positions. The YPG denied they were there.