Four Turkish soldiers killed by cross-border Kurdish militant attacks

07 Mai, 2019, 18:44 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Four Turkish soldiers killed by cross-border Kurdish militant attacks

The PKK, branded a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

Three Turkish soldiers were killed and another was wounded in a cross border attack.

"Three of our brothers in arms died as martyrs after mortar fire from northern Iraq by terrorists", the ministry said, in reference to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) group.

The statement added that air-supported operations in the area are ongoing.

Moscow signaled Sunday it would expand military operations around Idlib to face the probable creation of forces that plan to launch attacks on the city of Hama.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of almost 40,000 people, including many women and children. Security sources later reported five additional militant deaths.

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Turkey's military launched an operation in the region to find the militants, the defense ministry said in a statement, during which two Turkish soldiers were killed.

State news agency SANA quoted an unnamed Syrian military official as saying that insurgents are preparing to launch an offensive on government-held areas, warning that such an attack "would mark the beginning of their end".

According to Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay cited by Reuters, Ankara and Moscow are reviewing deployment of troops to the Syrian region of Tel Rifaat, an area controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, most of whom are fighting as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces backed by a US-led coalition.

The regime has intensified air strikes against these areas in recent months, despite a September deal between government ally Russian Federation and rebel backer Turkey that is meant to protect Idlib from a massive regime offensive. It also shelled YPG positions in the Tal Rifaat region earlier this year, saying this was in response to YPG fire.

Turkey, which has always been one of the main backers of rebel groups fighting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, has conducted patrols with Russian Federation, one of Assad's main allies, in northern areas under agreements reached past year.

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