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Top-level PKK member killed in military operation in Bitlis

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A regional commander of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was killed by the Turkish army in the southeastern Bitlis province, news agencies reported on Monday.

A clash took place between soldiers and a group of PKK members in the rural Mutki district of Bitlis, where the top-level PKK member was killed. He was only identified with his initials, S.K., and his code name “Argeş.”

S.K. reportedly joined the PKK in 2002 and took part in around 35 terrorist actions in the Güroymak district. These actions include planting explosives on the D300 highway, which caused three civilians to be injured, planting bombs in city hall and in the car of a district governor, giving order to other PKK members for placing explosives in a building, along with the attack on a police station.

The PKK is designated as a “terrorist organization” by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), as well as Turkey. The 32-year-old conflict, which has claimed more than 40,000 lives, halted in March 2013 as part of the settlement process initiated between the PKK and the Turkish government. However, the PKK ended the ceasefire in the summer of 2015.

There have been repeated clashes between security forces and PKK members since the cease-fire collapsed in July 2015. Nearly 200,000 locals in the Southeast have been forced to leave their homes due to fighting and curfews.

Last week, the Turkish General Staff released a statement, stating that a total of 1,000 members of the PKK were killed in the operations in the southeastern provinces of Şırnak and Mardin between March 14 and June 3.

The authorities have been imposing curfews in towns and districts to flush PKK militants from urban areas in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish Southeast since the collapse of the peace process.

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