ANKARA, ISTANBUL: Three Turkish soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in a clash with Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
The statement came after Turkey on Friday launched the third phase of an operation begun in May to root out fighters of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK (PKK), in the region. It did not specify the location of the clashes.
Turkey launched the “Claw” operation in May into mountainous northern Iraq against the PKK. The operation involved conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign against the PKK in the region.
The offensive entered its third phase on Friday, in which troops aim to destroy PKK caves and shelters in the Sinat-Haftanin region. The conflict has claimed more than 40,000 lives since the PKK took up arms in 1984.
The PKK began an insurgency against Turkey in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast in 1984, and the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people. Turkey, the US and the EU consider the group, based in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq, a terror organization.
Daesh attack kills 6
Separately, Daesh militants have fired mortar rounds at a soccer field near a religious site, killing six civilians and wounding nine others, according to police in Iraq.
The attack occurred late on Saturday in the village of Daquq, in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province, as people were exercising.
Police officials confirmed the attack, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
The area of the attack, southeast of the city of Kirkuk, is controlled by Iran-supported militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.
Daesh, which once ruled a self-styled proto-state sprawling across Iraq and Syria, no longer controls territory in either country but has continued to stage sporadic attacks.