Europe

Turkish jets bomb Kurdish PKK rebels near Iraq

  • 14 October 2014
  • From the section Europe
Turkish F-4 jet - file pic Image copyright Airteamimages
Image caption An F-4 Phantom jet: Turkey says the bombing was a response to a PKK attack on a military outpost

Turkish F-16 and F-4 warplanes have bombed Kurdish PKK rebel targets near the Iraqi border, as their ceasefire comes under increasing strain.

The air strikes on Daglica were in response to PKK shelling of a military outpost, the armed forces said.

Both sides have been observing a truce and it is the first major air raid on the PKK since March 2013.

Kurds are furious at Turkey's inaction as Islamic State (IS) militants attack the Syrian border town of Kobane.

Fighters from the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) have been aiding Kurdish YPG militia in Kobane and Turkey has refused to help supply its long-standing enemy with weapons or allow Kurdish fighters to enter Syria.

Two PKK commanders wounded in fighting were arrested by Turkish authorities when they arrived for treatment in hospital in south-eastern Turkey, Anatolia news agency reported.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption US-led air strikes on Islamic State targets in Kobane were visible from the Turkish border on Tuesday

Separately, some 260 YPG militiamen were arrested when they crossed into Turkey last week, although 60 of them were allowed to go back, Turkish media reported.

French President Francois Hollande appealed to the government in Ankara on Tuesday to open its border, as US-led fighter jets continued to target IS fighters in and around Kobane.

The air raids on PKK positions near the south-eastern village of Daglica on Monday caused "heavy casualties", Hurriyet daily reported.

The strikes followed a three-day PKK assault on a military outpost with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers, it said.

Clashes were also reported between the PKK and troops in the Tunceli area of east-central Turkey on Monday, far from the border.

Last week Kurdish protests gripped Turkey's Kurdish-majority south-eastern provinces. At least 31 people died in widespread street clashes, as Kurds vented their anger at Turkey's passive policy over Kobane.

The army imposed a curfew in some areas. But some of the fighting was reported to be between PKK supporters and Islamist Kurds sympathetic to IS.

Heavy fighting has been raging in Kobane since mid-September, as Syrian Kurds battle to defend the town against better-armed IS militants.

Turkey treats the PKK as a "terrorist" organisation and its leader Abdullah Ocalan is in jail. But he has been Turkey's main point of contact in peace negotiations since he was incarcerated in 2012.

The PKK - also labelled "terrorist" by Western governments - has been waging a 30-year insurgency for self-rule in eastern Turkey. The unrest has killed more than 40,000 people.

More on this story