Turkey: 100 Kurdish rebels killed
Published 23/08/2011 | 09:52
Turkey claims to have killed around 100 suspected Kurdish rebels in airstrikes on northern Iraq.
It warned that it would press ahead with offensives against the group both inside Turkey and across the border.
The country's military also said more than 80 rebels were injured in six days of cross-border air raids that began last Wednesday, hours after eight soldiers and a government-paid village guard were killed in an ambush by the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, near the border with Iraq.
It said targets included 79 shelters and hideouts, 18 caves, eight depots, 14 PKK buildings or facilities, one ammunition depot, nine anti-aircraft gun positions and three rebel road blocks.
The rebels have so far denied any losses, insisting that areas hit by the Turkish warplanes were long-abandoned bases. Kurdish authorities have, meanwhile, reported that seven civilians, including children, were killed while trying to escape the raids.
Turkey's military insisted that all targets were carefully pinpointed through repeated reconnaissance flights before being hit.
"Targets hits were determined following detailed analyses that were verified several times and were included on the list of targets only after it was established with certainty that they were not areas inhabited by civilians," it said.
The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, is fighting for autonomy in south-eastern Turkey. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict since 1984.
The rebels have long used northern Iraq as a base for hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets. Some 40 soldiers have been killed in escalated PKK assaults since July.