June 17, 2018 / 3:22 PM / 2 months ago

Turkey says its air strikes kill 35 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish warplanes killed 35 militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in air strikes in northern Iraq’s Qandil mountain region on Friday, the Turkish military said.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan had said on Saturday that Turkish warplanes had struck a meeting of the outlawed PKK in Qandil, where he believed high-profile militants had been hit.

The Turkish military in its statement on Sunday, released via Twitter, did not specify whether the air strikes it referred to were the ones Erdogan had talked about on Saturday.

The Turkish military has ramped up air strikes in northern Iraq, targeting PKK bases in Qandil, close to the Iraq-Iran border, where Ankara suspects high-ranking members of the militant group are located.

The PKK, which has fought a decades-old insurgency against the state in southeastern Turkey, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Ankara has also recently stepped up its warnings of a potential ground offensive into the Qandil region, with Erdogan vowing to “drain the terror swamp” in Qandil.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Susan Fenton

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