Turkey Iraq border region 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
ISTANBUL - Turkish troops have killed 49 Kurdish militants in the southeast of the country over the last two days, the military said on Saturday, in an offensive to avenge the deaths of 24 soldiers this week.
The militants were killed in Cukurca Kazan valley, in Hakkari province, the armed forces said on its web site, adding that operations on either side of the border with Iraq were continuing, supported by air strikes.
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Turkey's leaders have vowed revenge after one of the worst losses of life suffered by the army since the separatist insurgency began in 1984, when PKK guerrillas mounted a series of deadly night-time raids on army outposts in the mountainous southeast on Wednesday.
Ankara's reaction has ignited speculation that Turkey could move to a
full blown incursion to clear out PKK camps deeper inside northern Iraq.
Earlier on Saturday state-run TRT television reported a total of 53
Kurdish militants have been killed so far in the operation, without
citing a source.
Turkish security officials estimated earlier in the week that their
forces, numbering about 1,000 inside Iraq, had killed 21 fighters from
the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).
The military said it had deployed troops from 22 battalions for ground
attacks in five different areas on either side of the Iraqi border, and
it had also launched air strikes.