ISTANBUL: One Turkish soldier was killed and three others wounded Tuesday in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province in new violence blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the army said.
Fighting erupted during an operation to “capture and neutralise” the militants after they had blocked a road connecting the Lice district of Diyarbakir to Bingol province in southeast Turkey, the army said in a statement.
“Four of our personnel were wounded in the clashes and one of our soldiers who was badly wounded succumbed to his injuries in hospital and was martyred,” the army said.
Ankara is currently waging a two-pronged “anti-terror” offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria and PKK militants in northern Iraq and the southeast of Turkey following a wave of attacks.
Around 800 security forces launched a major operation against the PKK in the Silvan district of Diyarbakir early Tuesday after the militants erected barricades, dug trenches and gained control of a health centre, Dogan news agency reported.
One militant was killed and another one was injured in the ensuing clashes in Silvan, where the authorities had declared a curfew, Dogan said.
Meanwhile Cihan news agency said Turkish military helicopters targeted rebel hideouts in the Semdinli area in the southeastern Hakkari province, which has seen heavy clashes for the past two weeks.
The authorities blocked almost every entry point to Semdinli, where some houses had been hit by rockets and bullets, Cihan said.
So far, Turkish air strikes have overwhelmingly concentrated on the separatist Kurdish rebels, who have responded by tearing up a 2013 ceasefire and waging a bloody campaign against the security forces.
More than 40 members of the Turkish security forces have been killed in violence linked to the PKK since the crisis began on July 20 when a suicide bombing blamed on IS left scores of pro-Kurdish activists dead in the town of Suruc.