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Turkish military says hit PKK targets in n.Iraq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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ISTANBUL, (Reuters) – Turkish warplanes struck 16 Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq on Thursday, the military headquarters said.

The Turkish military has this year regularly attacked Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebel positions in the mountains of northern Iraq, where several thousand militants are believed to be holed up.

The latest operation was launched at 0800 GMT in the Hakurk region and had been completed successfully, the statement on the General Staff’s website said.

“These targets were identified as always after a scrupulous and detailed analysis and the necessary sensitivity was shown to avoid negatively impacting the civilian population and the local elements,” it said. It did not provide further details.

The military launched a major ground offensive across the border in February, signalling a new phase in the conflict.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 with the aim of establishing an ethnic homeland in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey. Some 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The EU and the United States are keen for NATO-member Turkey, which they say is defending itself against a terrorist organisation, to keep its attacks in northern Iraq limited to avoid destabilising Iraq and the wider region.