DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish air force jets and attack helicopters pounded Kurdish militants along the border with Iraq and Iran for three days, killing 42 militants, the local governor’s office said on Friday.
The operation, which began on Wednesday, was launched after word was received that a group of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants had been identified in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari, bordering Iraq and Iran, the Hakkari governor’s office said.
One Turkish soldier was killed, the statement said, while searches turned up quantities of ammunition, food supplies and medication. It said the operation was continuing.
The summer saw an upsurge in PKK attacks in southeast Turkey, notably in the Hakkari region.
Ankara has linked the rise in violence to the chaos in neighboring Syria and has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of resuming support for the PKK and arming the militants.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Turkey and the PKK, which launched its insurgency in 1984 with the aim of carving out a separate state in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.
The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.
Writing by Daren Butler and Seda Sezer; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Michael Roddy