Turkish forces “bomb PKK camp in Iraq”

The Turkish forces were advancing towards an outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camp at Haftanin, around 20 km (12 miles) from the Habur border post and near the Iraqi city of Zakho.

Turkish warplanes struck PKK militant targets in northern Iraq overnight and some 500 soldiers have crossed the border with armoured vehicles, military and security sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Turkish forces were advancing towards an outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camp at Haftanin, around 20 km (12 miles) from the Habur border post and near the Iraqi city of Zakho.

The sources described it as the busiest military activity along the border since the Turkish army launched cross-border activities last week in response to a PKK attack on Turkish forces which killed 24 soldiers in Hakkari, bordering Iraq.

Warplanes bombed PKK targets at Haftanin and Hakurke, the sources said, who said on Monday tanks and armoured vehicles had crossed into northern Iraq. Several hundred PKK militants were believed to be based at Haftanin.

The remoteness of the camps’ locations and the difficult terrain made it difficult to assess how close the Turkish force had moved towards the camps.

On Monday, residents of the village of Dashtatakh in Dahuk province, about 10 km east of Haftanin, reported 200 Turkish soldiers had entered Iraqi territory but left about an hour later.

Turkish air strikes have killed 250 to 270 PKK militants, wounded 210 and destroyed many arms stores in northern Iraq since Aug. 17, news broadcaster NTV on Monday quoted armed forces head General Necdet Ozel as saying.

Ankara’s reaction to one of the deadliest attacks on its security forces in a conflict that began three decades ago had fuelled speculation that Turkey could move to a full-blown incursion to clear out PKK camps deeper inside northern Iraq.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in 1984. The United States, the European Union and Turkey designate the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

 

25 October 2011 Tuesday