Middle East

4 Turkish soldiers, about 20 Kurdish rebels killed in clashes

Leftist protesters stand by a barricade they set on fire, during minor clashes with Turkish security forces following a protest against Saturday's Ankara bombing attacks, in Istanbul's Gazi district, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Cagdas Erdogan)

ANKARA: Four Turkish soldiers and about 20 Kurdish rebels have been killed in several days of intense fighting in southeastern Turkey, a security source said Sunday.

The fighting took place in the mountainous Daglica region close to the Iraqi border.

The clashes, which also involved helicopters, came despite a pledge by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to suspend all offensive actions ahead of Turkey's snap elections on Nov. 1.

The pledge was seen as an attempt to help the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) boost its score in the polls.

The rebels had since late July staged almost daily attacks against members of the security forces, after a two-year-old truce, killing more than 150 Turkish police and soldiers.

The government, for its part, claims to have killed more than 1,700 Kurdish militants in a relentless bombing campaign against the group.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds. Since then the group has narrowed its demands to greater autonomy and cultural rights.

 

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