Turkish warplanes have destroyed 10 Kurdish rebel positions in the restive southeast as Ankara steps up its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), state media reported on Sunday.
Jets bombed four PKK targets in the Cukurca district of the southeastern province of Hakkari close to northern Iraq on Saturday evening, security sources told state-run Anadolu news agency.
The bombing took place after a bloody 48 hours during which at least 22 Turkish soldiers and a village guardsman were killed in clashes and an attack blamed on PKK militants.
Twelve soldiers were killed in two separate clashes in Cukurca and Semdinli districts in Hakkari, the provincial governor’s office said, while in Van province eight soldiers died during fighting between soldiers and militants.
The village guard, killed in an attack in Mardin in the southeast on Friday, was part of a group of local residents who cooperate with Turkish security forces against the PKK, listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Another six PKK positions were hit in the Mount Tendurek region between Agri and Van provinces in the country’s east on Saturday evening, Anadolu said.
The Turkish military said more than 100 PKK fighters were “neutralised” during clashes with its security forces on Saturday, without explaining how many were killed and how many were injured.
A two-year ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK collapsed last year, after which Kurdish rebels launched frequent attacks on security forces in the country’s southeast.
Turkey has been conducting an operation since 24 August in Syria against IS and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara describes as an offshoot of the PKK.
On Saturday, Ankara sent more tanks into the northern Syrian village of al-Rai from Kilis province, opening a new front after its initial intervention dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield.
Turkish jets supporting Syria opposition fighters also destroyed four IS targets in northern Syria on both of its fronts, the Turkish military said, quoted by Anadolu.
Between 18:51 GMT and 20:19 GMT on Saturday, one target in al-Wakef close to al-Rai was destroyed while three targets were destroyed in in the al-Qadi region on the Jarabulus front.
Syrian rebels first launched a ground offensive against IS in the town of Jarabulus and recaptured it after meeting little resistance.