DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Four Turkish soldiers and a village guard were killed in two separate clashes with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in eastern Turkey, the Turkish military said on Thursday.
Three Turkish soldiers and a village guard were killed in a clash that broke out between PKK militants and security forces in the Caldiran district of Van province, the army statement said. It said four soldiers were also wounded in the clashes.
Nine PKK militants were killed in a subsequent firefight in the area, the army said. Security sources earlier said these clashes had occurred in the Dogubayazit district of neighboring Agri province.
Another Turkish soldier was killed in clashes with PKK militants near a military outpost in the Semdinli district of the Hakkari province bordering Iraq, the military said.
It said one PKK militant had been killed in a subsequent operation in the region, and two had been “neutralized”.
The army also said another three PKK militants believed to be preparing for an attack had been killed in air strikes targeting the Metina region of northern Iraq earlier on Thursday.
A day earlier, a special forces police officer was killed in a clash in a mountainous area of Sirnak province’s Beytussebap district, near the Iraqi border, security sources said.
A ceasefire between the Turkish state and the militants broke down in July 2015 and the southeast subsequently saw some of the worst violence since the PKK launched its insurgency in 1984.
More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed in the conflict. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Writing by Daren Butler and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans and Alison Williams