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Escalating violence in Turkey leaves five dead

August 7, 2015

At least five people have died in violent clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants in Turkey's restive southeast, officials said. The casualties include a Turkish soldier and an Iranian national.

Gefechte ziwschen PKK und türkischer Polizei in Silopi Türkei
Image: Reuters/S. Kayar

At least three Kurds, including a 17-year-old, died of gunshot wounds in the Silopi district of Sirnak province near the Iraqi and Syrian borders, AFP news agency reported, citing Silopi Mayor Seyfettin Aydemir.

"Snipers are positioned on the rooftops. It's not safe here," said Aymedir.

The shootout between militants of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and security forces reportedly kicked off when police in Silopi came under fire while attempting to conduct raids in search of suspected militants.

Photos posted on social media showed smoke billowing over Silopi, while the streets appeared deserted.

In a separate incident in the Agri province, one Turkish soldier and an employee of an Iranian bus company were shot dead. At least three Iranian nationals were injured in the attack.

Tensions between the PKK and Turkey have significantly escalated since Turkey launched airstrikes again the Kurdish militants in northern Iraq in July.

The PKK has been blamed by Ankara for attacks that have left at least 21 Turkish security personnel dead in June and July.

The escalating violence has left a 2013 truce between Ankara and the PKK in ruins.

ls/bk (AFP, dpa)