Two soldiers, 34 Kurdish rebels killed in Turkey clashes: army

kurdish militiaTwo Turkish soldiers and 34 Kurdish rebels have been killed in fighting in the southeast, where scores of people have died since the July breakdown of a ceasefire, the army said Friday.

The soldiers were killed in two separate attacks by the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) near Beytussebap district in Sirnak province on Thursday, the army’s high command said in a statement.

The military responded with airstrikes on the PKK’s positions, in which “34 terrorists” were killed, the statement added. It was not possible to independently confirm the losses in the separatists’ camp.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a major “anti-terrorist” campaign against the PKK in late July, aimed at flushing it out of its strongholds in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast and across the border in the mountains of northern Iraq.

The group has hit back hard, killing around 150 soldiers and police, according to pro-government media, which estimates the death toll in the rebels’ ranks at over a thousand.

The escalation shattered a peace process launched by Erdogan in 2012, which had raised hopes of an end to the PKK’s three-decade insurgency, in which over 40,000 people have been killed.

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