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Turkish jets hit Kurdish militant positions - sources

MYT 10:05:00 AM

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish fighter planes and attack helicopters pounded suspected Kurdish militant positions near the southeastern border with Syria and Iraq late on Wednesday in a major air-and-ground operation, security sources said.

"Around 2,000 soldiers are involved in the operation. Cobra helicopters ... are bombing targets on the Kato mountain," a security source told Reuters, referring to a location in Turkey's southeastern Sirnak province.

Around 10 F-16 fighter planes had been sent to support the operation, the source said.

The assault comes days after fighters from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) killed 10 members of the security services in simultaneous attacks on four state and security installations in the province.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between the PKK and Turkish forces since the militants launched their insurgency 28 years ago with the aim of carving out a separate state in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Fighting between the army and the PKK has intensified in recent months, a development which some Turkish officials and analysts have linked to the chaos in neighbouring Syria.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Some Turkish officials have said the group is getting direct support from Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and Kurdish groups in Syria.

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay in Istanbul; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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