One soldier, three Kurdish rebels killed in Turkey unrest: Army

 One Turkish soldier and three suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) were killed in eastern Turkey in new violence blamed on the Kurdish rebels, the army said Sunday.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 17, 2015, 00:21 AM IST

Istanbul: One Turkish soldier and three suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) were killed in eastern Turkey in new violence blamed on the Kurdish rebels, the army said Sunday.

Fighting erupted in the early hours of Sunday near Kagizman town in eastern Kars province during an operation to capture Kurdish militants, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said in a statement. 

Two soldiers were wounded and one of them later died of his injuries in hospital, the army said, adding that the security forces had shot dead three PKK members. 

Ankara is currently waging a two-pronged "anti-terror" offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria and PKK militants in northern Iraq and the southeast of Turkey following a wave of attacks. 

But, so far, Turkish air strikes have overwhelmingly concentrated on the separatist Kurdish rebels, who have responded by tearing up a 2013 ceasefire and waging a bloody campaign against the security forces.

More than 40 members of the Turkish security forces have been killed in violence linked to the PKK since the crisis began on July 20 when a suicide bombing blamed on IS left scores of pro-Kurdish activists dead in the town of Suruc. 

Since Friday alone, at least eight members of the Turkish security forces have been killed in attacks blamed on PKK militants in the country`s Kurdish-majority east and southeast regions. 

Speaking at a funeral ceremony for a slain police officer on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the fight against terror would "continue until doomsday." 

"Our police, our soldiers buried hundreds of terrorists. But it`s not enough. This struggle will continue. We shall not succumb to complacency," he said at the service, which was held in the Black Sea province of Trabzon and broadcast live on television. 

Meanwhile an open-ended curfew has been declared in the Varto district of eastern Mus province following heavy clashes between the Turkish army and PKK militants, the official Anatolia news agency said. 

The clashes erupted overnight after the PKK youth wing demolished a bridge with bulldozers they had seized, according to Anatolia. 

The PKK, designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, took up arms for self-rule in the southeast in 1984 and the conflict has since claimed tens of thousands of lives.