Up to 160 Killed During Latest Air Strikes in Kurdistan


Up to 160 Kurdish insurgents have been killed during the latest air raids by the Turkish air force .

After a wave of air raids and artillery attacks on rebel bases in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq, beginning on 17 August, the Turkish general staff issued a statement today, saying that between 145 and 160 Kurdish rebels have been killed and about 100 wounded.

Meanwhile, the operations of the PKK on Turkish territory continue. On Sunday three soldiers Turkish were killed and three more wounded in a landmine explosion during a PKK attack on an army convoy in the southeastern Hakkari province. At the same time Gendarmerie officers spotted two PKK rebels planting a roadside bomb in the same province. During the ensuing firefight both rebels were killed.

During a demonstration also in Hakkari province, the Kurdish activist Yildirim Ayhan was killed during a peace rally. Police reportedly started firing tear gas into the crowd, when Ayham suddenly collapsed. He was thought to have been struck by a tear gas canister first but the Kurdish news agency Firat reports today, that an autopsy shows revealed a gunshot wound.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. President Obama, Turkish President Abdullah Gül and others, the Kurdish deputy for Diyarbakir in the Turkish parliament, Ms Leyla Zana denounced the latest army operations against Kurds, saying that, “I would like to express my regret that the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey is increasing the policy of violence against Kurds as the Western world is holding up him as an example to the Middle East. I am greatly worried that we may face a modern dictatorship while the dictatorial regimes in the Middle East are falling down.”

The Turkish military said it will continue to strike the rebels until they are “rendered ineffective.”

(Sources: Hurriyet, Firat, BBC, Turkish General Staff; 29 August 2011)

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About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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