Another violent encounter between Kurdish PKK militants and Turkish police was reported on Friday, leaving two dead and 10 wounded in the town of Silopi near the Syrian border. In another sign of escalating violence, an affiliate of the PKK in Iran claimed responsibility for killing 20 Iranian soldiers in an attack on a military outpost.
The latest battle between the PKK and Turkish forces began when Turkish security forces entered Silopi to “seal ditches dug by members of the youth wing of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),” according to a Reuters report.
Today’s Zaman clarifies that the ditches were dug by militants to prevent the police from entering the town and arresting members of the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement, which is a branch of the PKK. When police and construction vehicles approached the ditches, they were hit by a combination of homemade explosives, rifle fire, rockets, artillery shells, and even land mines.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish news agency Rudaw reports KODAR, the Free and Democratic Society of Eastern Kurdistan – an affiliate of the PKK – claimed responsibility for attacking an Iranian military outpost in the Kurdish city of Mariwan on Friday, killing 20 soldiers from the Islamic Republic Guards Corp. KODAR said the attack was a reprisal for Iranian attacks on units of the Kurdish organization’s armed wing, the Rojheleat Protection Unit or YRK.
“We previously announced that IRGC attacks on YRK guerrillas would lead to war. These assaults are tantamount to the breaking of the ceasefire by the Iranian regime,” said a statement from KODAR.
However, another Kurdish group, the outlawed political party Komala, also claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed that KODAR’s account was false.
The Iranian government denies that any of its soldiers were killed in the attack, and says the outpost suffered only minor damage.
There have been reports within the last few weeks of Iranian troops crossing into Iraq and attacking Kurdish camps, in an effort to neutralize the major Kurdish political party in Iran, the Free Life Party of Kurdistan. This party is also tied to the PKK, which according to Rudaw has been presenting itself as an organization “not only for Iranian Kurds, but for all oppressed and marginalized populations in Iran.”