Four Turkish troops were killed in yet another skirmish in the southeastern province of Siirt on Wednesday as unremitting clashes between the military and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) stretch into the foreseeable future. The confrontations took place at two locations near the town of Eruh in Siirt province during the night and lasted for several hours.
A statement released by the Siirt Governor's Office said the PKK ambushed a commando unit that was returning to its barracks after an operation in the rural area of Milyanis near Eruh at night. One soldier was killed at the scene. Three other soldiers, who were seriously injured and were taken to the hospital by military air ambulance, subsequently died while under care. The bodies of the four slain soldiers were sent to their hometowns from Diyarbakır Wednesday afternoon, following a military ceremony at the 3rd Diyarbakır Battalion Command. Meanwhile, security forces seized 300 kilograms of explosives hidden by PKK in Diyarbakır, indicating that a potentially disastrous terrorist attack was averted at the last minute.
Police in İstanbul also continued a search for explosives started on Tuesday, acting on a tip-off. No explosives were found at the locations searched as of the early evening hours on Wednesday. The PKK has recently increased the number of its attacks involving explosives, but police forces have also been more successful at locating explosives before PKK terrorists can stage attacks. In a similar development, a 12-kilogram tube containing C-4 explosives was found in Tunceli province on Monday during an operation conducted to capture PKK members who opened fire on a gendarmerie unit near a Tunceli village.
In another incident the same day, police discovered eight kilograms of explosives in the southeastern province of Hakkâri. A group of special operations units on their way to a guard post found the device along the Hakkâri-Van highway, which was then closed to traffic while bomb experts examined the scene.
Additionally, a soldier was killed in a clash with the PKK in Hakkâri on Tuesday. When a gendarmerie unit located a group of terrorists in the rural area of the Yüksekova district in Hakkâri, an armed skirmish erupted that resulted in the soldier’s death. Also on Tuesday, one Turkish soldier was injured in a clash with PKK terrorists. The PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish Southeast since 1984, has intensified its armed activities in the southeastern part of the country with the coming of spring. So far, 40,000 people have died in the conflict. Dozens of PKK members have been killed recently in heavy clashes. More than 10 soldiers were slain in battles with the terrorist organization over the past week. The Turkish Air Forces have also shelled the hideouts and mountain bases of the PKK in northern Iraq several times over the past week.