Turks count dead soldiers in Iraqi Kurdistan

Two Turkish soldiers were killed over the weekend during a military operation in northern Iraq, where Ankara forces are fighting Kurdish separatist rebels, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

The death toll rises to eight Turkish military losses in the region since Tuesday.

The first soldier was killed on Saturday when an improvised explosive device exploded, injuring a colleague, according to a Turkish Defense Ministry press release.

The second, who was wounded on Friday during a battle, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday in the hospital where he was admitted, the Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.

Ankara has launched several operations in Turkey, as well as in Syria and Iraq, against Kurdish rebels who it says are members of or affiliated with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The most recent began in April in northern Iraq.

The PKK, which has bases and training camps in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.

More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed since the war, mainly in southeastern Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Monday that the Turkish army would soon launch a new operation in northern Syria to establish a 30km “security zone” on the Turkish-Syrian border.

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