BEIRUT

Middle East

Report: Kurdish rebels hesitant over retreat

Masked supporters demonstrate with some thousands of supporters waving various PKK flags and images of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, left, in southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, Thursday, March 21, 2013. (AP Photo)

ANKARA: A Kurdish politician says Kurdish rebels are hesitant about withdrawing fighters from Turkey as part of peace efforts with the country.

The rebels declared a ceasefire last month, heeding a call by their imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan who is engaged in talks with Turkish officials to end the nearly 30-year-old conflict. The peace efforts appear to have hit a snag over Turkish demands that the rebels retreat from Turkey unarmed.

Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of a pro-Kurdish party, said after a meeting with rebel commanders in northern Iraq that the rebels are apprehensive and are seeking legal guarantees before agreeing to retreat. His comments were reported by Vatan newspaper on Monday.

The conflict between Turkey and the rebels has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.

 

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