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Middle East

Clashes between Turkish army, Kurdish militants kill 8

Supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party wave flags and hold a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, as they attend the party's congress in Ankara on October 14, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkish security forces killed six Kurdish militants in gun battles in southeastern Turkey on Monday during a helicopter-backed raid on one of their camps, security sources said.

One soldier and a villager were also killed in ensuing clashes in the Cukurca district of Turkey's Hakkari province, a mountainous area bordering Iraq and Iran, the sources said. Four other soldiers and three militants were wounded.

Militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, have carried out a spate of attacks on military targets in the past few months, stepping up a 28-year-old insurgency.

Fighting between the army and the PKK intensified over the summer, a development which Ankara sees as linked to the chaos in neighbouring Syria. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has accused Syria's President Bashar al-Assad of arming the PKK militants.

The fighting in Turkey over the summer was some of the heaviest since the PKK took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

 

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