23 February 2008
ZAKHU, Iraq – Kurdish PKK guerrillas said on Saturday they had recovered the bodies of 15 of the 22 Turkish soldiers they say they have killed in clashes since Turkey launched an offensive against them.
The rebels had also begun planning reprisal attacks on Turkish soil, a spokesman for the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said.
“There are 22 Turkish soldiers that have been killed and our soldiers have the bodies of 15,” Ahmed Danees, head of foreign relations for the PKK, told Reuters by telephone, adding they would soon release the names of those killed.
Turkey’s military General Staff said in a statement on its Web site that only seven Turkish troops had been killed since the launch of the cross-border offensive into the largely autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq on Thursday.
“The Turkish army is using all its weapons including fighter jets, helicopters and artillery,” Danees said, adding that clashes continued.
“We are using guerrilla warfare. We are laying mines and planning ambushes on the Turkish side of the border.”
He declined to give the number of PKK casualties. The statement from Turkey’s military said its forces had so far killed 79 PKK rebels.
Verifying information about casualties is difficult because the fighting is taking place in a mountainous region that is difficult to access.