Six Turkish soldiers and two local guards have been killed in clasges with members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the border with Iraq.
According to initial reports, the incident took place near the village of Ortaklar in the Turksih province of Hakkari and 5 PKK members were also killed.
Later on the same day, Turkey’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that a total of 46 PKK members were “neutralized” in the operations against them in Hakkari, Tunceli and Şırnak.
“It [the statement] said 26 of the militants were killed in the rural areas of Şemdinli, while another nine were killed around the Nazımiye district of Tunceli and the other 11 were killed in Şırnak.
The Turkish Armed Forces also said in a statement that the 19 militants in Şemdinli were neutralized during an air-supported operation after the attack and they were attempting to flee to northern Iraq,” the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News reports.
Tensions between Turkish forces and the PKK have grown at the Turkish-Iraqi border as the Iraqi Federal Government is working to restore control over border crossings between Iraq’s Kurdistan Region and Turkey.
A notable part of northern Iraq is now controlled by the separatist Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which made a failed attempt to secede from Iraq earlier this year. The KRG had been seeking to use the September 25 independence referendum for this, but failed. Now, Iraqi forces are working to restore control of a number of contensted areas seized by KRG forces during the war on ISIS.