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Kurd Leader Urges PKK to 'Withdraw' From Iraq’s Kurdish Territory

  • VOA News

A missile-loaded Turkish Air Force warplane rises in the sky after taking off from Incirlik Air Base, in Adana, Turkey, Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

A missile-loaded Turkish Air Force warplane rises in the sky after taking off from Incirlik Air Base, in Adana, Turkey, Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region called on the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) Saturday to “withdraw” from Iraq’s Kurdish territory to prevent civilian casualties during Turkey’s airstrikes.

The PKK “should withdraw its fighters from the Kurdish region so to ensure the civilians of Kurdistan do not become victim of that fighting and conflict,” the office of the region's president, Massoud Barzani, said in a statement.

The statement also condemned Turkey’s airstrikes against civilians, following reports of casualties and property damage during bombing campaigns in northwestern region of the country.

“We condemn the bombing, which led to the martyrdom of the citizens of the Kurdish region, and we call on Turkey not to repeat the bombing of civilians,” the statement added.

In the same statement, the Iraqi Kurdish presidency also urged the PKK and the Turkish government to resume the peace process.

Turkey has launched hundreds of raids against Kurdish rebel camps in mountain bases on either side of the Iraqi border.

Several civilians have been killed or wounded in the air campaign, which Ankara started a week ago, following a number of attacks inside Turkey.

Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party has often had disputes with the PKK, but has allowed its fighters to take shelter in remote mountain regions on the Iraqi side of the border.

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