Kurdish War: Zone Failure


August 19, 2012:  Iran denied accusations that it is supplying the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) with weapons. The accusations originally appeared in various Turkish media after the U.S. ambassador to Turkey told reporters that the U.S. was not pleased with Iraq for allowing Iranian aircraft carrying weapons and supplies to overfly Iraqi air space en route to Syria. Turkish sources then speculated that Syria was transferring some of the weapons to the PKK. Iran’s denial appeared to refer to direct Iranian support for the PKK, not Syrian support. The Turkish government reported that a PKK-affiliated group in Syria (a Syrian Kurdish militia) has asserted control of several areas along the Syria-Turkey border. The group is getting weapons and supplies from somewhere. The radical Syrian Kurd militia has not been explicitly identified. It may be associated with the Syrian Democratic Unity Party (PYD, also called the Party of Unity and Democracy), which is Syria’s most militant Kurdish faction. The Turkish government regards the PYD as a branch of the PKK. PYD, however, claims that it is not part of the PKK.

August 15, 2012: Today marks the 28th anniversary of the beginning of the PKK’s rebellion against Turkey, on August 15, 1984.

The Turkish Air Force bombed four PKK targets in the Qandil Mountains (northeastern Iraq).

The PKK attacked a government office building in Turkey (Bitlis province) using rocket-propelled grenades. A policeman was injured.

August 13, 2012: The Turkish Member of Parliament kidnapped on August 12 by the PKK was released. Huseyin Aygün, a member of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) said that the PKK kidnapped him for propaganda purposes. He was released by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) 48 hours after he was kidnapped by them.

PKK rebels conducted coordinated attacks on a police station and a gendarmerie station in Hatay province (southern Tukrey). Two policemen were injured in the raid on the police station.

August 12, 2012: The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) claimed that it is responsible for the August 9 attack on a bus which left two soldiers dead and 12 people wounded. The attack took place in Foca. The TAK is a subsidiary organization of the PKK.

A member of parliament form Tunceli province, Hüseyin Aygun, was kidnapped by suspected PKK militants. Aygun was in Tunceli province (eastern Turkey). Aygun is a member of the main Turkish opposition party, the Republican Peoples Party (CHP).

August 11, 2012: The Turkish military ended a three-week long operation (that began on July 23) against the PKK in the Hakkari province, which borders Iran and Iraq. Semdinli was targeted for several reasons. PKK activity in the region had increased substantially. Captured PKK militants claimed that the PKK intended to infiltrate a large number of fighters into the region (likely from Iraq) and seize the city center of Semdinli. PKK rebel groups had also set up checkpoints and roadblocks in the area. The Turkish government regarded the checkpoints as a political ploy. After establishing the checkpoints the PKK would then assert that it was in the process of creating an autonomous political zone.

The Iraqi government criticized Turkey for dealing with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as if it were a sovereign country. The Iraqi complaint followed a visit to Iraqi Kurdistan by Turkey’s foreign minister. The visit was not cleared by Baghdad.

August 9, 2012: A land mine detonated in the town of Foca (Aegean Sea) killed two soldiers and injured 12 other people. The Turkish Navy has a base at Foca.

The Turkish government accused Syria of providing arms to the PKK and Kurdish militants.

August 7, 2012: A Syrian Kurdish militia leader claimed that his forces controled the town of Ras al-Ayn and several other towns along the Syria-Turkey frontier. Syria’s Kurds do not officially support the Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group. However, a substantial number of Syrian Kurds say that they are against the Assad regime and they want a free Syria.

August 6, 2012: The Turkish government claimed that 130 PKK militants have been killed in an offensive operation launched the last week of July in Hakkari province. At the moment over 2,000 Turkish Army troops are involve in the operation.

August 5, 2012: At least 22 people were killed in a PKK attack and subsequent fighting in Hakkari province. The Turkish government claimed that 14 PKK rebels, two village guards, and six soldiers died in the fighting.

August 3, 2012: Observers in the town of Semdinli reported extensive artillery shelling and numerous airstrikes in the hills surrounding the city. About 20,000 people live in Semdinli.

August 2, 2012: Iran categorically denied claims by Turkey that it is training PKK militants on Iranian territory.

Two Turkish soldiers died in an attack on a gendarme post in Siirt province (southeastern Turkey). Seven other people were wounded in the assault.

The Kurdish National Council of Syria (KNCS) said that the Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) is working with the Assad regime and the PKK. The KNCS also said that the PYD is damaging relations between Syrian Kurds and other ethnic groups in Syria. The KNCS was formed in 2011, by 15 Syrian Kurd local political groups as an umbrella political organization for Syrian Kurds who do not support the PYD’s militant agenda.

July 31, 2012: The Turkish military reported that it had engaged a large group of PKK fighters near the town of Semdinli. An estimated hundred PKK rebels entered Turkey from Iraq on July 29. Turkish forces attacked the group and surrounded elements of the group in an area near the villages of Yigitler, Baglar, and Ruzgarli (Semdinli district). So far 22 PKK rebels have been killed in the firefights near the three villages. Two Turkish soldiers have been killed and at least ten have been wounded. The Turkish Army is using armored vehicles and attack helicopters in the attacks on the infiltrators.

July 25, 2012: Turkish military confirmed that it is conducting a new series of offensive operations in the Semdinli district of Hakkari province (in and near the town of Semdinli, southeastern Turkey). PKK guerrillas in the Semdinli area have claimed that they intend to create an independent zone in the region. Turkish media had been reporting a sharp increase in the number of troops and police in and around Semdinli. The operation may also be designed to dampen an expected surge of PKK attacks in the first two weeks of August. August 15 is the anniversary of the beginning of the PKK’s rebellion in 1984.

July 22, 2012: PKK militants set a road construction truck on fire in Semdinli district In Siirt province (Pervari district), a tractor hit a land mine planted by PKK rebels. One person was injured in the mine blast.

A Turkish military helicopter crashed in Hakkari province. Five soldiers died in the crash and seven were injured. The Turkish Army denied that the PKK had shot down the helicopter and said that the helicopter crashed due to mechanical failure.

July 18, 2012: An estimated 1,700 Turkish police and gendarmes launched a major anti-drug operation in the city of Diyarbakir and the surrounding region. The government claims that the PKK finances its war by dealing in illegal drugs.

The government said that 31 Gendarmerie Special Operations and Commando Teams, seven Police Special Operations Teams, and 17 rural guards Operation Teams participated in the raids, as well as several hundred other law enforcement officers.

July 15, 2012: Turkey reported that the Assad regime has pulled more Syrian Army units away from the border. The soldiers are being used in the fight for Aleppo. The pullback has created a security vacuum in areas along the border. Several Syrian Kurdish militias have appeared to fill the vacuum. Several are local village militias. The Turkish government is concerned that the PKK could start to operate openly in the area. The government has also noted that some Syrian PYD leaders have started to refer to Syria’s northeastern corner (where a substantial number of Kurds live) as West Kurdistan.

July 14, 2012: One Turkish soldier died in a firefight with Kurdish rebels in the Kato Mountains (Sirnak province).

July 11, 2012: Turkish security forces killed five PKK fighters in a series of firefights in Bingol province (southeastern Turkey). Three of the dead PKK fighters were women.

July 7, 2012: PKK fighters killed two village guards and wounded one Turkish soldier injured in two attacks that occurred in Van province (eastern Turkey).

July 5, 2012: The Syrian PYD claimed that some Syrian Kurds within the Kurdish National Council of Syria (KNCS) are helping Turkish security forces target PYD members

July 3, 2012: The Turkish Air Force claimed that it killed 25 PKK fighters and wounded 23 in a series of air strikes on PKK camps in the Qandil Mountains that took place on June 24.



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