Turkey launches domestic operations against Kurdish militants in south-east
Turkey launched a military operation on Friday targeting Kurdish insurgents in the country's south-east, the Interior Ministry said. The operation, covering the predominantly Kurdish cities of Diyarbakir, Mus and Bingol, is aimed at "neutralising" members of the "separatist terrorist group", the ministry said, a reference to militants of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The PKK has been waging a decades-long insurgency for autonomy within Turkey and is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. Nearly 3,000 military personnel have been deployed in Friday's operation to block the group's efforts to set up winter bases, the Interior Ministry added. The PKK typically uses mountainous areas to hide, especially during the winter.
The group is headquartered in the remote Qandil mountain range in neighbouring Iraq. Turkey frequently carries out airstrikes in and around Qandil. Earlier this year, Turkey paused an offensive targeting Kurdish militias - which it says are linked to the PKK - in north-eastern Syria after two ceasefire deals brokered by the US and Russia. (dpa)