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Turkish warplanes hit Kurdish militant targets in southeast

Turkish soldier on top of a tank, with the Syrian town of Kobani in the background, stands guard near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc

Turkish warplanes attacked Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in southeast Turkey on Sunday in the first significant air operation against the militants since the launch of a peace process two years ago, Hurriyet news website said on Tuesday.

The air strikes caused “major damage” to the PKK, Hurriyet said. They were launched after three days of PKK attacks on a military outpost in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, it added.

There was no immediate comment from the military on the reported air strikes, which Hurriyet said was carried out with the knowledge of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The incident came amid Kurdish anger in southeast Turkey at Ankara’s failure to intervene along its border with Syria where Islamic State militants have besieged the mainly Kurdish town of Kobani for the last month.

“F-16 and F-4 warplanes which took off from (bases in the southeastern provinces of) Diyarbakir and Malatya rained down bombs on PKK targets after they attacked a military outpost in the Daglica region,” Hurriyet said.

It said the PKK had attacked the outpost for three days with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers. The general staff said in a statement it had “opened fired immediately in retaliation in the strongest terms” after PKK attacks in the area.

Ankara launched a peace process with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 2012 to end an insurgency which has killed more than 40,000 people in 30 years.

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