September 25, 2015 / 10:12 AM / 4 years ago

Two Turkish soldiers, 34 Kurdish militants killed: security sources

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers and 34 Kurdish insurgents have been killed in a militant attack and Turkish military operations backed by air strikes, Turkish security sources said on Friday.

Southeastern Turkey has been trapped in a spiral of violence since the collapse in July of a ceasefire with the PKK, leaving efforts to find a long-term peace in tatters.

Overnight on Thursday Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters opened fire on troops in Sirnak province, close to Turkey’s Iraq border, killing 2 soldiers. In a now familiar pattern, the military launched air-backed reprisal operations, killing 34 militants, security sources told Reuters.

The latest clashes come as millions of Turks celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha. More than 100 security personnel and hundreds of PKK militants have been killed since July.

The recent upsurge of violence comes at a difficult time for Turkey, already wrestling with the complex humanitarian and security fallout from civil war in neighboring Syria.

The PKK — which fights for greater Kurdish autonomy — is viewed as a terrorist organization in both Europe and the United States.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan, writing by Jonny Hogg and David Dolan; Editing by Ralph Boulton

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