Meanwhile, over in Iran, Iranian Kurds are once again restive. On July 30, 300 Iranian Kurds staged a major protest in Iran's Kurdistan Province. The demonstrators were protesting the arrest, torture, and murder of a Kurd by Iran's State Security Forces in mid-July. The young Kurdish man was arrested in Iran's West Azerbaijan province. Since the arrest, there have been several small protests in Kurdish towns throughout northwestern Iraq. Iranian security forces fired on demonstrators in the town of Oshnavieh and killed three people.
Turkish security forces reported the five Kurd insurgents died in a firefight on July 23. The battle took place in Sirnak Province. The same Turkish report also said that ten PKK rebels had died in a firefight that occurred in Sirnak on July 16. Initial reports said that "several" rebels had died in that fight but gave no firm figure. Ten PKK guerrillas killed in one battle inside Turkey is a large death toll. That suggests the Turkish military or security troops ambushed a rebel group infiltrating across the border. Meanwhile, on July 24 the Turkish government said it has "the right" to attack PKK guerrillas inside Iraqi territory "if the Iraqi and U.S. sides do not fulfill their responsibilities." Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari disagreed, saying that Turkish incursions would have a "de-stabilizing effect." Iraq, however, acknowledges that Turkey has a legitimate interest. Zebari added: "We have an obligation to Turkey and to control all non-Iraqi armed groups and prevent them from activities against neighboring countries."