27 Kurdish rebels killed in Turkey: Authorities
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 24, 2011, 22:03
Ankara: Turkish security forces have killed 27 Kurdish rebels in a helicopter-backed offensive in southeast Turkey, authorities say, days after another major anti-PKK offensive.

The rebels, including an alleged senior commander, were killed in a five-day long attack targeting caves and other hideouts on Mt Cudi in Sirnak province, which borders Iraq, the office of the governor said late yesterday.

Five other rebels, suspected members of the autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were captured alive, it added.

Pro-Kurdish news agency Firat confirmed clashes in Cudi, but made no mention of any rebel deaths.

The announcement came two days after another major offensive against the autonomy-seeking group, also backed by airpower, left 21 suspected rebels dead in Diyarbakir province, some 300 kilometers (190 miles) away.

The rebels, branded as terrorists by the United States and the European Union, are fighting for autonomy in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict since 1984.

The operations are a victory of sorts for the Turkish military, which seemed to be struggling to clamp down on guerrilla activities after a spate of attacks killed dozens of soldiers and civilians this year.

They follow the US deployment of four Predator drones to Turkey from Iraq following the American troops' withdrawal from the country. The US has pledged to assist Turkey in its fight against the rebels who often stage attacks from bases across the border in Iraq's north.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said this week that Turkey is determined to press ahead with the anti-rebel operations, rejecting speculation of possible new negotiations with the PKK to end the violence.

"At this moment, no place is secure for the PKK and its members, nor will it be," Atalay said.

In a related development, Turkish authorities today released a photographer for the French news agency, Agence France Presse, along with 13 other people who were detained as part of an investigation into a group prosecutors accuse of having links to the PKK.


First Published: Saturday, December 24, 2011, 22:03

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