Turkish Military Helicopters Kill Nine in Strikes on PKK Targets

 pppppTurkish military helicopters killed nine Kurdish militants in strikes near the southeastern border with Syria on Wednesday, security sources said, in a conflict becoming increasingly intertwined with developments in Turkey’s war-torn neighbor.

The Cobra attack helicopters launched the assault at around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) as a group of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters traveled through a mountainous area near the Idil district of Turkey’s Sirnak province, the sources said.

Parts of Idil were placed under 24-hour curfew last week as the security forces carried out an operation against the militants. That was part of a wider military campaign which began last December in towns in the mostly Kurdish southeast following the collapse in July of a ceasefire with the PKK.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has blamed a member of the YPG, working with Kurdish militants inside Turkey, for a suicide bombing that killed 29 people in the capital Ankara last week, most of them soldiers.

The Turkish armed forces shelled YPG positions in northern Syria in the days after the attack and bombed PKK camps in northern Iraq, as the government vowed that those responsible would pay the price. Clashes inside Turkey have also continued.

On Tuesday, security forces killed six PKK militants in Idil and two others in the Sur district of the region’s largest city Diyarbakir, the armed forces said in a statement. A soldier died of his wounds after coming under attack from PKK fighters in Sur on Wednesday, it said.