Turkish troops cross into Iraq: Sources

Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq, heading towards Kurdish rebel bases in Haftanin valley, as warplanes bombed the area, sources said.

Diyarbakir (Turkey): Turkish troops crossed
into northern Iraq on Tuesday, heading towards Kurdish rebel bases
in Haftanin valley, as warplanes bombed the area, local
security sources said.

Some 20 tanks and 30 military trucks entered Iraqi soil
from Siyahkaya village around 15 kilometers east of the Habur
gate on the Turkish side of the border, sources said.
Turkish warplanes also bombed the Haftanin region where
some 400 rebels are believed to be settled, they added.

Turkish troops were sent by helicopter to the Zap region,
they said, adding that they aimed to enter Iraq`s Sinaht
region where rebels of the Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) are
thought to be based.

Firatnews news agency, known as the mouthpiece of the PKK,
confirmed today that Turkish troops had entered Iraq from the
Siyahkaya region.

Turkish soldiers erected drawbridges on Hezil river in the
region, Firatnews said.

The Turkish military launched air and land operations
against the PKK after the separatist group`s guerrillas killed
24 soldiers and wounded 18 along the Iraqi border on
Wednesday, the army`s biggest losses since 1993.

Some 10,000 troops on the ground were involved in Turkey`s
operations, backed by jets and helicopters, inside Turkey and
across the border. Military officials did not say how many
troops had entered Iraq.
However, the army said the ground operations were mainly
focused inside Turkey, around the Cukurca region near the
Iraqi border.

"A total of 49 terrorists were rendered ineffective" last
week, the general staff said in a statement posted on its
website Friday.

Clashes between the PKK and the army have escalated since
the summer.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and
much of the international community, took up arms for Kurdish
independence in southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a
conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

Turkey`s last ground incursion into northern Iraq, an
autonomous Kurdish region, was in February 2008, when the army
struck against the Zap region.


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