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02:23, 20 February 2017 Monday
Update: 10:11, 12 August 2012 Sunday

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Turkish forces end anti-PKK operation in Semdinli
Turkish forces end anti-PKK operation in Semdinli

The fighting began after the PKK set up checkpoints and tried to establish a stronghold there.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish armed forces have ended an almost three-week operation against PKK militants in the southeast region of Semdinli, bordering Iran and Iraq, and have killed "a large number" of militants, the local governor said in a statement on Saturday.

Turkish jets have bombarded outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) positions around the mountainous region in one of most intense bouts of fighting in recent years in a decades-long conflict which has killed 40,000 people.

"The aerial-supported operations launched by our security forces on July 23, 2012 ... were completed on Aug. 11, 2012 morning," said the governor's office of Hakkari, the province where Semdinli is located.

"As a result of the operations, conducted with determination and rigour, the terrorist organisation PKK was unable to reach its cruel goals and a large number of its members have been rendered ineffective," it said in a statement, employing a euphemism commonly used by officials to mean killed.

Erdogan said on Aug. 7 that 115 PKK militants had been killed in Semdinli. The fighting began after the PKK set up checkpoints and tried to establish a stronghold there.

The militants have fought for autonomy for Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984. Turkey, the United States and the European Union list the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Murat Karayilan, the acting PKK leader, said last week the group was changing tactics with its battle in Semdinli, according to Firat News, a website close to the militants.

Instead of their traditional hit-and-run ambushes on Turkish security forces, PKK militants would remain positioned in Semdinli in an attempt to form a stronghold there, he said.

Suspected PKK militants ambushed a Turkish military bus in western Turkey on Thursday in an attack that killed one soldier and wounded at least 11 people. Turkish media reported a man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the attack.

Increased PKK violence is a headache for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as he seeks to limit the impact at home of the conflict in Syria, where the PKK exerts growing authority in Kurdish areas and is receiving arms from Syrian forces, Ankara has said.



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Press agenda on February 19
Press agenda on February 19

Here are the main topics World Bulletin’s English Desk plans to cover Sunday Feb. 19, 2017 (coverage may change depending on developing/breaking stories): BAGHDAD Iraqi forces launch an offensive on jihadists defending Mosul's west bank, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city. 700 words 0530 GMT by Ammar Karim and Jean-Marc Mojon US-militant-Egypt-prison,2ndlead WASHINGTON The sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian-born cleric linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, dies at 78 in a US prison facility after a long battle with diabetes and coronary artery disease. 650 words moved by Maggy Donaldson. File Picture Ukraine-Russia-conflict,WRAP MOSCOW A truce between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine will come into force Monday, Moscow and Kiev say, though some separatists are already labelling it unfeasible. 500 words moved by Anais Llobet Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,WRAP BERLIN Hungary's "On Body and Soul", a love story set in a slaughterhouse, wins the Golden Bear top prize at the Berlin film festival, Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year. 700 words moved by Deborah Cole. Picture. Video Also moved: Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-prizes,FACTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany,POINTS Entertainment-film-festival-Germany-winners,CHRONO -- ASIA -- NKorea-Malaysia-diplomacy-community,SCENE KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia's only North Korean restaurant promises a glimpse into life in the reclusive state but it has been shuttered since news broke of the assassination of leader Kim Jong-Un's brother, with security guards turning customers away. 650 words 0600 GMT by Elizabeth Law. Picture. Video -- AMERICAS -- US-politics-Trump-Melania,lead MELBOURNE, Florida First Lady Melania Trump, usually a demure and soft-spoken presence at her husband's side, breaks with form, reciting the Lord's Prayer before issuing a scathing rebuke of his enemies and her critics at a campaign-style stop in Florida. 600 words moved by Michael Mathes with Stephanie Griffith in Washington. Picture. Video. US-media-politics-technology WASHINGTON As President Donald Trump warns of a crackdown on US government leaks to media, interest is growing in technology tools that allow sources to share information anonymously. 750 words moved by Rob Lever Venezuela-politics-opposition-US CARACAS Venezuela and the United States lock horns again over political prisoners held by Caracas, including over the detention of a jailed opposition leader whose supporters took to the streets of the capital to demand his release.