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May 20th, 2010

Turkish fighters Turkish airstrikes hit Kurdish rebels in Northern Iraq

ZAP-KHAKURK, KURDISTAN: Turkish fighter jets have launched major air raids against separatist targets in northern Iraq.

  • 20 aircraft are reported to have hit 50 targets belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the ZAP-Khakurk region.
  • No information currently available on casualties or damage.
  • Turkish media reports that raids were prompted on intelligence supplied by the United States.
  • Airstrikes follow weeks of recent attacks by PKK rebels on Turkish military positions, which killed several Turkish soldiers.
  • Almost 40,000 people have died in fighting during the PKK’s 25-year armed struggle for Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey.

Analysts available for comment:

JOOST HILTERMANN is Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at International Crisis Group. He is an expert on Iraq, including issues relating to the political transition, constitutional process and the situation of the Kurds. From 1994-2002, he served as Executive Director of the Arms Control Division at Human Rights Watch. He was the primary researcher for HRW on the 1987-88 Al-Anfal campaign by Saddam Hussein’s regime — a campaign that sought to annihilate northern Iraq’s Kurdish population. See full bio…
Location: Washington, DC, USA

MARK FOWLER is an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and senior former officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a Middle East specialist and served numerous tours overseas and in Washington, DC. He has particular expertise on Iran and Iraq, and speaks Farsi. He currently directs Booz Allen Hamilton’s ‘Persia House,’ a center of excellence on Iran and the Persian Gulf. See full bio…
Location: Washington, DC, USA

HUGH POPE is the Turkey Project Director for International Crisis Group. Based in Istanbul, he is a specialist on Turkish foreign policy, including EU-Turkey relations, Cyprus and Turkey’s ties with its neighbours. Until taking up this post in 2007, Pope was a foreign correspondent for 25 years, most recently spending a decade as Turkey, Middle East and Central Asia Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. See full bio…
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

MICHAEL O’HANLON is senior author of the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Index projects at the Brookings Institution. He has commented frequently for the media on developments in the Kurdistan region. He previously served as a national security analyst for the Congressional Budget Office and the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.
Location: Washington, DC, USA

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