Three Kurdish rebels killed in southeast Turkey: report

AFP, Wednesday 23 May 2012

Turkish soldiers on patrol in a Kurdish area of southeastern Turkey. (Photo: Reuters)

Three Kurdish rebels were killed Tuesday in a gunbattle with security forces in southeastern Turkey, Turkish media said Wednesday.

The firefight erupted Tuesday around 1605 GMT in a rural area near the town of Ovacik in Tunceli province, Anatolia news agency cited the provincial governor's office as saying.

The three members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were killed when they refused to surrender to security force, the governor's office said.

Troops backed by helicopters were involved in an ongoing operation targeting Kurdish militants in the region, NTV private television reported.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and by much of the international community, took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

Fighting usually escalates in spring as snow melts along the mountainous Iraqi-Turkish border, enabling rebels holed up in rough terrain to launch attacks more easily.

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