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PKK Responds to Turkish Strikes with New Attacks

Recruits of PEJAK, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, a splinter group of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, take defensive positions near the PEJAK training camp in the Qandil mountain range, northern Iraq (File)

Members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) launched new attacks against Turkish soldiers as Turkey vowed to keep up the pressure on the terror group.

PKK rebels struck at least two military positions in Siirt province in southern Turkey on Thursday. Turkish media reported the attacks killed at least two soldiers and wounded three civilians.

The latest clashes come as Turkey is promising a renewed crackdown on the PKK and launched a series of overnight airstrikes against PKK positions in northern Iraq.

The Turkish military said Friday its jets had targeted 28 PKK positions in the Qandil, Hakurk, Avasin-Basyan and Zap regions of northern Iraq. It also said it launched artillery strikes against another 96 targets.

A rebel spokesperson told VOA's Kurdish Service Thursday that Turkey's latest offensive failed to inflict any casualties on PKK forces. He said the strikes destroyed only one home and damaged a power distribution unit.

Turkey, the United States, and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.

Ankara launched the latest air raids after PKK rebels ambushed a military convoy in Turkey, killing at least eight Turkish soldiers near the border with Iraq.

Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara's "patience is running out" with the rebels, who have waged a campaign for autonomy in the country's largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.

Since calling off a cease-fire in February, the PKK has adopted what it calls an "active defense" stance, which allows its fighters to defend themselves if they feel threatened.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara expressed condolences for the soldiers killed Wednesday and said the United States stands with Turkey in its fight against the PKK.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.