Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turkey steps up offensive in Iraq after Kurdish raids

A major Turkish military offensive is continuing in northern Iraq, following a deadly attack by Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.

Ankara said 22 battalions, or about 10,000 soldiers, were taking part in the operation in northern Iraq and also south-eastern Turkey.

The troops - including commandos and paramilitary forces - are being backed by war planes and helicopters.

On Tuesday, Kurdish PKK rebels killed 24 soldiers near the Iraqi border.

The attacks in Hakkari province are thought to have inflicted the biggest loss on Turkish forces since 1993 and President Abdullah Gul has vowed to avenge them.

In recent months, violence between the army and Kurdish rebels from the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) has mounted.

PKK guerrillas are seeking greater autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated south-east. more