Ankara, Oct 22: Turkish troops have killed at least 49 Kurdish rebels in a valley near the Iraqi border, the military said today, as hundreds of troops also pursued Kurdish fighters within northern Iraq.
The rebels were killed in offensives in the past two days in the Kazan Valley region, near the town of Cukurca that borders Iraq, the military said in a statement posted on its website. There was no confirmation of the deaths from the rebel group.
On Wednesday, Turkey launched anti-rebel offensives involving around 10,000 troops both in southeastern Turkey and across the border in Iraq.
The military operations began hours after 24 soldiers were killed in Cukurca by the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in the deadliest one-day toll against the military since the 1990s.
Turkey's conflict with the Kurdish rebels has killed tens of thousands of people since the insurgents took up arms to fight for autonomy in the country's Kurdish-dominated southeast in 1984.
The military said it recovered the bodies of 35 rebels at the valley after it struck the area with artillery shells and airstrikes on Saturday. Seven other bodies were found inside a cave while seven more rebels were killed in separate clashes in the region.
“Operations launched in a few regions across the border and in two regions inside Turkey are continuing,” the military statement said, adding they were aimed at “preventing acts by members of the separatist terror organization against our units.”