At least 55 militants were killed when Turkish warplanes hit the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in northern Iraq overnight, security sources told Reuters on Sept. 19.
The jets took off from a base in Diyarbakır, in Turkey’s southeast, and later returned without damage, the sources said.
Meanwhile, Doğan News Agency reported on Sept. 19 that at least 85 PKK militants were killed in air strikes targeting in the southeastern province of Tunceli, as well as in northern Iraq’s Sinat-Haftanin area, on Sept. 15.
In a separate incident on Sept. 19, Batman Mayor Sabri Özdemir, his deputy Gülistan Akel and 81 others were detained by the gendarmerie for attempting to enter a restricted military zone where one PKK militant was reportedly killed in an ongoing operation.
Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast has been hit by almost daily waves of deadly fighting between PKK militants and security forces since the collapse of a ceasefire in July.
Security forces have responded by launching frequent bombing raids into mountainous northern Iraq where the PKK has camps. It is the worst violence NATO member Turkey has seen in two decades, coinciding with fighting across the border in Syria involving government troops and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.
The PKK began its separatist insurgency in 1984, triggering a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people. The group, which says it is now fighting for greater Kurdish autonomy, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised the fight will go on until “not one terrorist is left.” The conflict has flared up as Turkey prepares for a parliamentary election on Nov. 1 following an inconclusive June vote.