AFP
Last updated: 14 September, 2012

Turkey says 79 killed in anti-Kurdish rebel raids

Seventy-five rebels and four soldiers have been killed over the past week in Turkey’s latest operation against Kurdish separatists in the country’s southeast, officials said Friday.

Four Turkish soldiers have been killed and 75 Kurdish rebels have been “rendered ineffective” in the operation launched on September 8 in the rebel strongholds near the Iraqi border, the local governor’s office told the Anatolia news agency.

The operation has been concentrated in the Semdinli district and has included nearly 5,000 ground troops backed by air power, according to the army.

The operation follows a Turkish airstrike inside northern Iraq between September 5 and 9, which killed 25 rebels and destroyed rebel ammunition in mountain hideouts, according to the Turkish army.

Last week, the army announced that it has staged 974 operations over the last six months to drive out the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), during which close to 500 people, most of them Kurdish rebels, were killed.

The PKK, considered a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in the southeast in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.