Intense clash on Turkey-Iran border leaves Turkish soldier dead
One Turkish soldier was killed and another wounded after Kurdish militants believed to be from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) reportedly launched a raid on a Turkish outpost on the border area with Iran Tuesday evening. Videos circulating on Kurdish telegram channels since Tuesday night show the attack culminating in an intense clash and deafening firefight, leading terrified villagers to run for cover in the countryside, Rudaw reports.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that two soldiers were wounded, one of whom died later in hospital, as a result of “gunfire from the direction of Iran” in Turkey’s Hakkari/Yuksekova region, which borders Iran’s Western Azerbaijan province.
Turkey has launched an intense bombing campaign against suspected PKK targets inside the Kurdistan region of Iraq over the last ten days, deploying some of its most elite troops to the area in an effort to root out the group it has been fighting since 1984.
The fighting began at 5 pm on Tuesday evening after Kurdish militants believed to be from the PKK launched an attack from Iranian soil on a Turkish gendarmerie outpost overlooking the Iranian village of Kuran in western Azerbaijan province.
“We can see the Turkish outpost. The fighting lasted for three hours from 5 pm till around 8 pm,” a villager from Kuran who saw the battle unfold told Rudaw English on condition of anonymity. He says, the attackers used heavy machine guns against the outpost. When the Turkish forces brought in more troops they reportedly came under further attacks from another PKK unit, the villager said.
The statement from the Turkish ministry did not mention any clashes. Initially the incident was reported by Kurdish media outlets as clashes between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian Kurdish opposition groups, but the villagers speaking to Rudaw contest this, saying they believe the militants to be from the PKK and denied the involvement of Iranian forces.
The guerrilla organization has not made any statement about the incident as of Wednesday lunch time.
The villagers that fled the incident purportedly returned Wednesday morning, says the villager.